Black Lives Matter Los Angeles is the first chapter to form in what is now the global network. Organizers who are among the original members of Black Lives Matter poured into the streets on July 13, 2013, the day that George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Parts of Los Angeles were shut down for three days through intuitive organizing before folks were called together by Patrisse Cullors, who had been in conversation with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi about how to build a “movement not a moment.” On July 15, 2013, roughly 30 organizers gathered in the courtyard of St. Elmo’s Village, a historic Black artist community, and committed our lives to the Black liberation struggle, adopting a womanist/Black Nationalist framwork, with a queer and trans lens.
Initially, we worked under the banner J4TMLA (Justice for Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles), with #BlackLivesMatter as our subscript, transitioning to #BlackLivesMatter as our primary identity within a few months. BLM Los Angeles is now one of the largest and most active chapters in the network, with nearly 500 trained and active members and organized ally groups, including White People for Black Lives.
In 2015 the chapter issued five demands to Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles: 1. Fire Charlie Beck for leading the most murderous law enforcement unit in the nation; 2. Move all Los Angeles Police Commission Meetings out of LAPD headquarters and to the evenings so that they can be accessible to the community; 3. Establish a reparations fund to support those who are brutalized and abused by police and the families of those who have been killed by police; 4. Appoint real community representatives to key boards and commissions; 5. Hold quarterly meetings in the Black community, with an agenda that the community develops and a format that the community defines.
To date, the mayor has not met a single demand. In addition to the demands, BLMLA works closely with many of the families of those killed by policing units throughout the county and defines and develops additional goals and objectives. We organize under a disrupt/build model, disrupting the systems that keep Black people oppressed and working to build the kind of world in which we want to live. This has manifested in shutdowns, acts of civil disobedience, rallies, and occupations/decolonizations, including the longest Black encampment in U.S. history when #DecolonizeLACityHall held a 54-day 24/7 encampment in front of Los Angeles City Hall in response to the “in police” ruling on the LAPD murder of 30-year-old Black mother of two, Redel Jones. The “build” side of the model has included community visioning sessions, community canvasses, a Youth Activist Camp, and a #BankBlack partnership with One United Bank that resulted in the founding of a college fund for the son of Wakiesha Wilson (who was killed in custody by LAPD in 2016).
We encourage all who are committed to Black freedom to become involved in BLMLA.
RECENT CHAPTER UPDATES
October 17, 2017
October 17, 2017
October 11, 2017