Only a social media pariah could have overlooked the Black Lives Matter movement. For almost three years, protesters have been storming the internet, mass transit, and police stations in an attempt to shed light on racial injustice. #Blacklivesmatter has grown beyond its original hashtag to a national political movement.
It began with a Facebook post.
“Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter,” Alicia Garza posted from the bar after witnessing the George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Her self-titled “love letter” reverberated throughout the nation. It grew beyond a Facebook post, beyond three girls’ anger at what they were witnessing on TV. Millions of voices joined in Garza’s pain. Anger swelled into a tidal wave. Protests shut down cities.
This is history in the making. An entire civil rights movement has been born in the words in a Facebook post. It has grown beyond #blacklivesmatter to address the many intersections of black identity. #Sayhername, in particular, focuses on the silence of transgender murders within the movement.
An established social activist committed to challenging society to recognize and celebrate the contributions of all individuals, specifically black people and queer communities, Garza’s activism is rooted in organizational strategies to connect individuals and emerging social movements. She is also a prominent advocate for the preservation of an open internet to provide a space for these movements to emerge.
Garza, a self-proclaimed queer woman, united many under the hashtag. It is splintering off to address the finite needs of each intersection. Currently, she works with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. A past recipient of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club Community Activist Awards, Garza has been spotlighted by The Advocate, The Roots, and Out magazine.
Tomorrow, Tuesday Febuary 2nd, Alicia Garza will speaking at the Ted Constant Center from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. As part of ODU’s President’s Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available here.