Black lives matter is a simple statement that had a powerful impact in 2016. There were dizzying lows: Police officers killed 239 Black people, including Alton SterlingPhilando Castile, and Korryn Gaines. Protests erupted in cities around the world, including New York, Baton Rouge, London, and Dallas to raise awareness for police killings.

However, Black lives matter also reached new heights. The BLM organization released a policy platform that includes reparations, pressured Democratic politicians to include racial justice in the official party platform, and even met with president Obama

While the fight to stop the killings of Black people will continue through 2017 and beyond, these 15 photos show just how much impact Black lives matter had this year.

1

A protestor confronts a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Protests ravaged Baton Rouge after an officer killed Alton Sterling, an unarmed Black man, in July.

2

Protestors walk a "Black lives matter" banner through New York.

Activists in major cities, like NYC, protested shootings in other cities, like Dallas.

3

A Muslim woman cries at a protest in Louisiana.

Blair Imani, a press officer at Planned Parenthood, protested Sterling's death in Baton Rouge. Her tears capture the emotional intensity of the moment.

4

An officer kneels on a protestor as he's arrested.

Tensions between police and protestors spilled over in Baton Rouge. NBC News reported that hundreds of demonstrators were arrested during the Sterling protests.

5

A 10-year-old boy asks for help at Louisiana's State Capitol building.

Kerron Stewart joined protestors in Baton Rouge on the Capitol's steps. His sign shows how much angst is attached to protests.

6

A protestor in Phoenix, Arizona is treated with milk after being pepper-sprayed.

Officers in many cities, including Phoenix, were criticized for using military tactics, like teargassing and pepper-spraying, on protestors. 

7

Two men raise Black power fists while marching in Louisiana.

8

A stoic protestor is arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for blocking a highway.

The Washington Post called 28-year-old Ieshia Evans "the calm in the center of the storm." She stood her ground, even as officers descended on her. 

9

Family members of Delrawn Small mourn him during his funeral in July.

The grief is palpable in this sad photo. An off-duty police officer fatally shot 37-year-old Small in Brooklyn in July.

10

A Dallas police sergeant prays with protestors after a demonstration in Dallas, Texas.

Five Dallas officers were fatally shot in July, mere days after Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were killed. Sergeant Paul Hinton joined protestors in this touching moment.

11

A protestor in London holds a "white silence" sign during a rally.

Black lives matter crossed the pond again in 2016. London staged a rally in August to protest police killings in Britain and the United States.

12

Activists embrace a white man in a conservative flag shirt during a protest in Dallas.

13

A protestor carries the Palestinian flag during the Republican National Convention in Ohio.

The Palestinian flag is controversial since Israel and America are allies. This protestor evoked the allyship between Black Americans and Palestinians during a march in Cleveland in July.

14

A Muslim protestor confronts officers as they cross a bridge in Louisiana.

Muslim woman police officers Alton Sterling Baton Rouge, Louisiana
photo: Reuters
15

A man lays on the ground during a rally in Columbus, Ohio in October.

The officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice wasn't indicted in December 2015. Protests have been erupting in Ohio ever since.