This Day in History – Activists start Black Lives Matter movement

In response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin, community organizer Alicia Garza writes a Facebook post stating ‘black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.’ Patrisse Cullors replies with #BlackLivesMatter and Opal Tometi adds her support. The three women will go on to create a decentralized network of supporters with a goal of increasing the visibility of violence against Black communities.

The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. Our members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

As organizers who work with everyday people, BLM members see and understand significant gaps in movement spaces and leadership. Black liberation movements in this country have created room, space, and leadership mostly for Black heterosexual, cisgender men — leaving women, queer and transgender people, and others either out of the movement or in the background to move the work forward with little or no recognition. As a network, we have always recognized the need to center the leadership of women and queer and trans people. To maximize our movement muscle, and to be intentional about not replicating harmful practices that excluded so many in past movements for liberation, we made a commitment to placing those at the margins closer to the center.

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