Alicia Garza

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).


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I thought Jewish lines are maternal?

I am concerned about longevity of #Black Lives Matter, specifically maintaining an enduring social justice movement by retaining singleness of purpose.

I am deeply disturbed by the dwindling effect and dissolving existence of the gains of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. It is my deeply held opinion too many shed blood, lost their lives and expended energy for the achievements and gains not to be enduring and permanent. Permanency is my aim here.

I am writing to you, and to the other founders of BLM to engage myself in any ongoing conversation and work toward permanency of BLM gains, or if necessary, to begin that conversation. Any direction, guidance or comments you would share would be deeply appreciated.

I believe justice, in all it's forms and the way that justice expresses itself for humans, is the single purpose of #BLM. However, that is a huge swath of concerns and issues. That swath involves many connected and related, yet different focuses. As you know, for example, prison reform, judicial sentencing reform, incarceration reform, policing issues of excessive force and disparate application of legal codes -- all these concerns are matters ultimately of social justice. Yet, each is has many layers that require attention and its own focus group to effect enduring change. That is but one segment of social justice.

Before I go further it would help if I define enduring and permanent change to ensure we are talking about the same thing. Enduring lasts. Permanent is not dissolved or overturned when white supremacy, for example, shows up again, as it always has throughout history, to demand resumption of it's primacy. Permanency requires maintenance that ensures endurance.

And, I have not yet reached labor issues where your current work is focused; its own area within the social justice framework.

All the aspects of social justice touch each other at some point; the intersectionality. My concern is to maintain the power and potency of each segment of the current social justice movement that falls under the #BLM umbrella.

I would like to know what y’all are doing for women and young girls to better them selfs

Huh. I wonder why she changed her name.

In reply to by Frontierland

She married.

In reply to by Melanie


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.

Date of Birth

Oakland, CA
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alicia Garza." (Viewed on February 27, 2021) <>.


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