#BlackLivesMatter, all lives matter
Alicia Garza, co-creator, of the movement vists USD and shares her story
HANNAH DE JONG
Successful international social movements do not usually start with a Facebook post, but that is exactly how the now globally acknowledged Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began.
Alicia Garza, co-creator of this movement, visited the University of San Diego on Feb. 27 to share her experiences with the creation and evolution of Black Lives Matter.
The event was sponsored by several student organizations such as Associated Students, The Center for Inclusion and Diversity, and the Women’s Center. They brought Garza to speak to members of the USD community about the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of campus activism.
Garza’s talk highlighted the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and the social climates that led to its necessity. Approaching its three-year anniversary, the movement has spread to dozens of countries, generating international awareness of the global issue of inequality and injustices.
Here at USD, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown in traction thanks to various events held in support of it this year. Last semester, students and supporters were seen marching and chanting, “black lives matter, all lives matter,” outside of Maher and other visible locations on campus and this semester students and teachers alike can be seen wearing the Black Lives Matter shirt.
Garza stated that the movement came out of the effects of the death of Trayvon Martin and the trial that followed. The acquittal of George Zimmerman in July of 2012 led to feelings of despair, outrage, and denial for members of the African American community everywhere.
Upon hearing the outcome of the trial Garza felt moved to write a letter to her community and friends on Facebook declaring that they must not lose hope. She ended by saying that her life mattered, her friends’ lives mattered, all lives mattered, and black lives matter.
This prompted her friends from around the country to begin using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in reference to her message and the need for unity throughout the black community. BLM has gained strength recently following multiple police shootings that received national coverage.
Garza was not just trying to advocate for the black community as a whole, she also explained the roots of her pushing this movement to include all black people in the fight for equality. Specifically she felt that the black LGBTQ community was being forgotten in fights for equality, as she herself identifies with this group.
Freshman Olivia Fuqua who attended this event, in Saloman Hall, was startled by the statistics that Garza shared regarding the life expectancy of black transgender women.
“I found it extremely shocking and upsetting that the average life expectancy of black transgendered women is only 35 years,” Fuqua said. “I had no idea that those circumstances could almost cut a persons life expectancy in half. It was also interesting how this movement ties into black LGBTQ equality because I hear about it in the news with regards to police brutality towards African Americans but I was unaware of this aspect of the movement.”
Garza made very interesting claims about the current state of the government as well. She stated that despite the inequalities and injustices that have emerged as a result of the current governing system in the United States, the government itself is functioning in the exact way it was meant to. She suggested that these injustices are built in outcomes of our governmental system and that true social change is not possible without the evolution of this system in some way.
The BLM community, is proud of the strength of this movement, and they hope that it will continue to spread and teach the world that black lives matter. This social movement reinforces that even something as trivial as a Facebook post can make a difference.