Fueled by deep-rooted social, economic and cultural issues stemming from decades of tense race relations and powered by the pervasive presence of social media, Black Lives Matter has rapidly evolved from a Twitter hashtag into this generation’s civil rights movement.
Since the hashtag was started in 2013 by Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the impassioned message has seamlessly shifted from the internet into the streets and the mainstream, while maintaining its online clout and widespread allure. Emblazoned across t-shirts, protest banners and news headlines, #BlackLivesMatter has turned attention to the troubling disconnect between law enforcement and the black community, driving nationwide protests on a scale not seen in a half-century.
Rooted in a quest for liberation, the movement’s powerful message has connected people across the country working to end the various forms of injustice. Seen as a fundamental means to an essential end, the movement strives to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally. A galvanizing movement from the onset, it has gained powerful momentum in the wake of the shootings of Michael Brown and John Crawford III and the death of Eric Garner; after a grand jury cleared the officer charged in Garner’s case, #BlackLivesMatter was tweeted 13,000 times in one hour.
With a vision of justice for all, the Black Lives Matter founders engage audiences in discussion about race relations in America and how their activism from the fringes became the national movement it is today, galvanizing individuals to stand up and together against the state violence, police brutality and social injustice plaguing our country.