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 January 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/garza-alicia>.