Our History - Black Lives Matter

Our History

In 2013, three radical Black organizers — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — created a Black-centered political-movement-building project called #BlackLivesMatter in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.

In 2014, Mike Brown was murdered by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. During Labor Day weekend that same year, Darnell Moore and Patrisse Cullors organized a national caravan called the Black Life Matters Ride. In 15 days, a plan of action was developed and successfully gathered over 600 people to occupy the territory of St. Louis to support our brothers and sisters in demonstration. During this time, organizers made two key commitments: to support the team on the ground in St. Louis, and to go back home and continue to do the work, wherever home was. It was understood that Ferguson was not an aberration, but in fact a clear point of reference for what was happening to Black communities everywhere.

Inspired by our friends in Ferguson, organizers from 18 different cities went back home and developed Black Lives Matter chapters in their communities and towns, broadening the political will and movement-building reach catalyzed by the #BlackLivesMatter project and that groundwork in Ferguson.

There was a clear need for the continued organizing and building of Black power across the country. People were hungry to galvanize their communities toward ending state-sanctioned violence against Black people, as Ferguson organizers and allies were doing. In response to that need, the Black Lives Matter Global Network infrastructure was created. Adaptive and decentralized, with a set of guiding principles, our goal is to support the development of new Black leaders, as well as to create a network where Black people feel empowered to determine our destinies in our communities. BLM Foundation is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. Our members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network would not be recognized worldwide had it not been for the folks in St. Louis and Ferguson who put their bodies on the line all those years ago and who continue, day in and day out, to show up for Black lives.

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Black Lives Matter Foundation

Proclamation: Black Lives Matter Day

WHEREAS, the abuse of Black people did not end with the abolishment of slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Nor did anti-Black racism end with ratification of the 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment, or the signing of the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act. WHEREAS, 160 years after the abolition of […]