“As leftists, as people who care about the future of humanity, our core task is to build this movement, but bigger than that our task is to build a left,” Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza said at the 2015 Left Forum. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors founded the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013.
Garza is a community organizer who works as the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She also belongs to the board of SOUL, the School of Unity and Liberation.
SOUL’s website states, “SOUL is working to lay the groundwork for a strong social justice movement by supporting the development of a new generation of organizers rooted in a systemic change analysis – especially people of color, young women, queer and transgender youth and low-income people.”
Black Lives Matter charges the American law enforcement community with systemic police brutality. During an interview with The Nation in 2015, Garza asserted that “… the institution of policing is rooted in the legacy of catching slaves” and in an interview on risingupwithsonali.com, she said that “ … in many cases police are the ones who may be ending up terrorizing communities themselves.”
Later in that same interview she said, “The role of police is not necessarily to be keeping us safe … the role of police is to solve problems. And if they’re not doing that well then we need to figure out different ways to solve problems that keep our communities whole, that don’t break up families, and that don’t put our community members and our loved ones six feet under the ground.”
While the Black Lives Matter movement is primarily known for its anti-police protests, Garza addressed the larger scope of the movement, saying, “We aim to break that narrative that being gay is a white thing, that we’re all out in the streets to save the lives of cis Black men, that we only focus on police violence. We are so many things — education justice, economic justice, racial justice, gender justice…”
According to The New Yorker, Garza, is queer and “married” a “trans male” in 2003.
During her speech at the 2015 Left Forum, Garza voiced her antipathy toward capitalism, declaring, “It’s not possible for a world to emerge where black lives matter if it’s under capitalism. And it’s not possible to abolish capitalism without a struggle against national oppression and gender oppression.”
On blacklivesmatter.com she states that, “The legacy and prevalence of anti-Black racism and hetero-patriarchy is a lynch pin holding together this unsustainable economy.”
Alex Nitzberg is an intern at the American Journalism Center at Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.