The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Alicia Garza

b. March 4, 1981

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Alicia Garza until we are able to commission a full entry.

Alicia Garza created #blacklivesmatter along with social justice workers Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi after George Zimmerman was found “not guilty” for the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2013.

After her impassioned plea that black lives matter ignited the internet, Alicia Garza helped lead the movement that has transformed the modern struggle for civil rights. Born Alicia Schwartz, Garza studied anthropology at UC San Diego and was an early activist for causes including LGBT rights, civil rights, and fair housing. Garza became executive director of POWER, a San Francisco-based labor group, in 2009. In 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Garza reacted to how little black lives were valued by American society by posting her now-famous quote, which quickly went viral on social media. Together with two friends, she co-founded Black Lives Matter, which gained traction the following year when they organized powerful events across America to protest the police killing of Michael Brown. As part of that campaign, Garza stopped a BART train to represent the time Brown’s body was left in the street. She continues to work with Black Lives Matter while serving as special projects director for the Oakland office of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and as a board member of the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL).

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alicia Garza." (Viewed on May 28, 2022) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/garza-alicia>.

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