On July 13, 2013 we disrupted business as usual and impacted the world.
Thank you to our organizers, our supporters, and our allies.
Thank you to every person who used the hashtag, every person who donated, and every person who courageously stood up for Black people.
Happy 6th Anniversary, #BlackLivesMatter
6 Years Later and Black Activists Are Still Fighting
A Letter from Black Lives Matter Global Network Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor Patrisse Khan-Cullors
As human beings we usually fight for the things that move us out of complacency. We fight for clarity and truth telling. We fight for a world that we want our children to live in. A world we want our communities to thrive in.
I’ve always fought for my family. My community. For Black poor people.
That’s why when Trayvon Martin was murdered and in 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted my body and spirit was moved into action. I couldn’t imagine how in 2013 a white passing person could kill a young boy and not be held accountable. I didn’t want George Zimmerman to be the period to the story. I didn’t want his name to be the name held up over and over again by the media, by his fellow white supremacists.
That’s why when I saw the phrase Black Lives Matter spelled out by Alicia Garza in a love letter towards Black people – I decided to put a hashtag on it. Alicia, Opal, and I created #BlackLivesMatter as an online community to help combat anti-Black racism across the globe. We firmly believed our movement, which would later become an organization, needed to be a contributing voice for Black folks and our allies to support changing the material conditions for Black people.
For more than 500 years Black people have been fighting for our freedom. We have fought back against slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow laws, policing, incarceration, some of the highest unemployment rates, consistent homelessness, dying while giving birth, being murdered for being trans or non-binary. We have been the consistent moral compass in a country that has thrived on harming the most vulnerable of its population.
Every Black person who has fought for our dignity deserves the deepest bow of gratitude. Six years later and Black activists and organizers are moving forward towards justice, towards visions, towards a world where our families and communities are no longer the sacrifice for a better America, for a better world. We are doing that through our continued fight against elected officials, be it Democrat or Republican, who don’t share a vision that is radical and intersectional. We are building grassroots power with Black communities who have been left out the political process. We are building new spaces and places that tell Black stories and remind the world our everlasting contributions.
In the last six years many of us faced down tanks, rubber bullets, were forced to do jail and prison sentences, have been surveilled, lied on, called terrorists, been given false labels by the FBI, and some of us have lost our lives. These six years have been the most profound six years of my life and the most traumatic and destabilizing six years of my life.
I know I can speak for most of us. We have fought like hell for our freedom and we will continue to fight like hell. Because we deserve more than what we have been given. Because we deserve the healing and the transformation and most importantly we deserve to be free.