UNDERSTANDING THE BLACK LIVES MOVEMENT


THE BEGINNING

Co-Founder Patricia Khan-Cullors
Co-Founder Alicia Garza
Co-Founder Opal Tometi

One wonders when the three ladies above coined the “Black Lives Matter” phrase, if they ever believed it would become a worldwide movement. Well . . . it did. The effort grew out of the senseless, unlawful and racist murder of Trayvon Martin, a young man walking in his neighborhood and was shot by George Zimmerman. To add to the horror, Zimmerman was not convicted of the murder. This act took many African Americans back to the Emmett Till case in 1964 when that 14-year-old was brutally and painfully murdered by two white men because he supposedly “wolf-whistled” at a white woman; a jury freed them also. Hundreds, if not thousands of African American men have lost their lives since then, but 39 years later … in 2013, these three women had had enough. They knew if the culture of America did not seem to think black lives mattered, they did. Hence, a world movement took root.

Patricia Khan-Cullors:

wears several hats: she is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. and Co-founder of Black Lives Matter. She is also an artist, public speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author and Fulbright scholar, and highly appreciated for using her skill-sets for the betterment of mankind.

Alicia Garza

Oakland-based organizer, writer, public speaker, and freedom dreamer.

Freedom for one means freedom for all.

Co- Founder of Black Lives Matter

Leading Voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in America.

OPAL TOMETI:

is a New York-based Nigerian-American writer, strategist, and community organizer and is credited with creating the online platforms and initiating the social media strategy during the early days of Black Lives Matter. Your vision and strong appetite for criminal justice reform, will set America on the pathway to equality for all.

THE MISSION OF BLACK LIVES MATTER

The mission of Black Lives Matter is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

WHO ARE THEY . . . THEY SAY

We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans(gender) folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

THE MOVEMENT

Black Lives Matter is a social and political movement, that had its birth among African Americans to highlight basic rights and racial equality for black people. It includes eradicating all forms of racism.

Systemic racism has shown blacks that their lives do not matter for 400 years. There are times in American history, when the government sought to establish blacks as citizens who deserved the same rights as whites…during the Reconstruction Period–a period immediately following the Civil War, (1865 – 1877). However, during those twelve years, white supremacy loomed large, and the government caved in and allowed the culture to target blacks with slave-like tactics, lynchings, Jim Crow laws and lies that distorted history and portrayed blacks as violent, lazy and ignorant.

History reveals the white race as the most violent race in America. It is this race who took land from the American Indian, murdered them in their homes and labeled them as “savages,” enslaved millions of black people, murdered and lynched them when they fought for their identity, and established policies, laws and an economic culture that empowers white people at the expense of others. To exacerbate the situation, many have tried to erase history to present themselves in a more favorable light. The way to make such a presentation, is to do as many are doing today . . . become a “shining light!.” History cannot be undone, but the present can be . . . .

The next 143 years after Reconstruction, even though progress has been made toward racial equality, have perpetuated such nonsense and discrimination…leading us to the Black Lives Movement of today. The movement has garnered support from all races, including numerous whites, and once again, racial equality is a “topic of discussion.” Let’s see where it leads . . . .