Know your Lecture Board candidates: Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 4.11.17 PM

From left to right: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi

In July 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted from the charge of second-degree murder of 17 year-old Treyvon Martin. In response, Alicia Garza, an organizer and special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, took to her Facebook page to write a “love letter” to the black community, and a plea for all to recognize that “black lives matter.” Her friend, Patrisse Cullors, head of an advocacy organization for incarcerated people, repeated the phrase from her own social media accounts, adding a hashtag.

Opal Tometi, executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, remembers reading Garza’s post after leaving a screening of Fruitvale Station and hearing that Zimmerman had been acquitted:  “Within this formation Alicia basically said, ‘Hey, we need to come together to understand this moment and provide some shared guidance, a reading, as well as a call to action for our people.’ Black Lives Matter is how she’d been talking about it. That really resonated with me.”

Together, the three women made #BlackLivesMatter a national mantra, dubbed by many the start of a second civil-rights movement. While the hashtag began as a way to promote demonstrations and rallies around the country in response to police brutality against black individuals, today Black Lives Matter is an organization with 26 national chapters. “Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society” reads the organization’s website.

Although the movement began in response to the issues of police brutality, today Black Lives Matter is fighting for a greater cause, that “goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.” Garza describes the organization and phrase as, “an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

Continue Reading


Brown community continues to show solidarity with Ferguson and New York

tumblr_ngi5rhwLfY1u5fw74o1_1280

In the weeks since the non-indictments of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we have seen all kinds of protests against a justice system that is rarely applied equally to all Americans. In Providence alone, there have been die-ins, marches, and a massive petition to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse demanding reform.

Though finals period often takes our attention away from just about everything outside of our looming exams, many members of the Brown community have continued to stand up and demand a more equitable justice system–one in which black lives matter. You can see as much on your news feed every day: our classmates are traveling to New York to join the Millions March, sharing posts about how best to be an ally at a time like this, and expressing their rage and sorrow at the events of the past month. Some have led their own protests, lending a hand in the best way they know how.

Continue Reading