How Three Women Ignited A Global Conversation on Race and Social Justice-By Drive Africa Writer

In 2013 following the murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin and the eventual acquittal of his Murderer, former police officer George Zimmerman, three black women Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza birthed a movement for justice. They created Black Lives Matter, a movement which began with the hashtag# BlackLivesMatter but which later morphed into a global call to action for racial justice and equity.  The organization has now grown to become a member based global network with over 40 chapters.  The organization is committed to the promotion of racial justice and the empowerment of black communities around the world. The organization has also broadened the scope of its work to include the recognition of the contribution of black people to humanity.  Over the years the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been utilized to mobilize the efforts of individuals and organizations seeking to address the problem of racism focused on people of color, particularly black people.

Image Credit: Kaya Volunteer

In 2014, a police killing of a black man called Mike Brown in Missouri marked an important tipping point in the evolution of the movement. The incident caused widespread dissent which saw the communities of Ferguson and St Louis coming into confrontation with the police.  During the ensuing tumult, Patrisse Cullors and Darnell Moore organized a national ride which coincided with Labor Day. About 600 people were mobilized to support the protesters in St. Louis. After the event, participants and organizers went back to their cities with a commitment to establish Black Lives Chapters in their local communities and cities. The event provided the foundation upon which a national movement would be built as it became apparent that there was a need to have a network of communities who would continue to advocate for racial equity and to campaign against systemic injustice as well as violence. Meanwhile the hashtag#BlackLivesMatter kept on growing as more black people continued to face violence and communities began to respond to such incidences in response.

In 2020, a string of killing of black people in incidents involving police officers in the United States ignited what became a global outcry against police brutality and violence and helped to catapult the Black Lives Matter movement into a global conversation about race and racism. The brutal police Killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota, sparked outraged which ignited events, rallies, and protests around the world.  The Black Lives Matter movement has been progressively broadening its mandate and work. The movement has recently began to venture into the world of policy advocacy where its engaging in issues such as reparations, demilitarization of the police, and worker rights. In today’s quickly world, the organization looks poised to be an influential voice for global justice and equity.