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#BlackLivesMatter founder Alicia Garza to speak at Skidmore

February 23, 2016
Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter
Alicia Garza

Social activist Alicia Garza, a founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, will deliver the keynote address at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the NY6 LGBTQIA Spectrum Conference at Skidmore College.

Free and open to the public, her talk, titled “Black Lives Matter,” will be in Gannett Auditorium of Palamountain Hall.

Outraged by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Garza took to social media to express her anguish and love for the black community. It was then that Garza—together with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors—turned the powerful words “Black Lives Matter” into a social media phenomenon and an organizing network that now boasts more than 26 chapters internationally. #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into the banner under which this generation’s human rights movement marches.

An established organizer committed to social transformation, Garza challenges society to recognize and celebrate the contributions of all black lives, promoting a world where all people are valued, respected and can live with dignity.

Garza’s work is rooted in organizational strategies that connect social movements and has earned her various honors, including a spot on the Root’s 2015 List of African American achievers and influencers, and the 2015 Politico50 Guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, The Nation, The Feminist Wire and more.

Currently the special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Garza previously served as executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, where she led the charge on significant initiatives, including organizing against the chronic police violence in black neighborhoods.

About Black Lives Matter

Fueled by deep-rooted social, economic and cultural issues stemming from decades of tense race relations and powered by social media, Black Lives Matter has rapidly evolved from a Twitter hashtag into this generation’s civil rights movement.

Since the hashtag was started in 2013 by Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the impassioned message has seamlessly shifted from the internet into the streets and the mainstream, while maintaining its online clout and widespread allure.

The movement has connected people across the country working to end the various forms of injustice. Seen as a fundamental means to an essential end, the movement strives to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally. A galvanizing movement from the onset, it gained powerful momentum in the wake of the August 2014 shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, and the July 2014 death of Eric Garner. After a grand jury cleared the officer charged in Garner’s case, #BlackLivesMatter was tweeted 13,000 times in one hour.

The Black Lives Matter founders engage audiences in discussion about race relations in America and how their activism from the fringes became the national movement it is today.

About NY6

Established with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium facilitates collaboration among its member institutions in fulfilling their educational missions and serving the public good. Consortium members are Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith College, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, and Union College.   

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