Black Lives Matter Founder, Alicia Garza, to Address NLG Convention

Mikayla Avalos-Feehan
Law for the People Intern

Alicia Garza will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming #Law4thePeople Convention, October 21st through the 25th in Oakland. Garza is most well known for co-founding #BlackLivesMatter in 2013. That movement was a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and the latter’s subsequent acquittal. The movement however, is more than just a hash tag and is conscious of the multiple oppressions at work in society. As Garza stated in her October 2014 article for The Feminist Wire, “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.”

Garza has devoted much of her life to fighting for human rights. She is the Special Projects Developer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she works to win labor protections for domestic workers, most of whom are women. She has also worked as the Executive Director of POWER, or People Organized to Win Employment Rights. There she achieved free public transportation for youth, and focused more attention on the effects of gentrification on undocumented people and people of color in San Francisco.

She continues to fight against state-sanctioned violence directed at Blacks and their communities, as #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and protests swept the country demanding police accountability. Garza was part of one such protest on “Black Friday” of last year at the West Oakland BART Station. The “Black Friday 14,” also being honored at this year’s convention, chose one of the busiest shopping days of the year to call attention to police violence. The location chosen was also meaningful as a point of connection between police violence and the displacement of working-class Black people in the neighborhood – the result of gentrification that came following the construction of BART in West Oakland. When interviewed, Garza explained, “We do know that the justice system often does not work on our behalf. But we thought it was important not to carry a message of resignation, but instead to carry a message of indignation, and resistance.”

Garza’s leadership on issues of intersectionality, connecting racism, economic inequality and state violence, ought to inspire resistance. Don’t miss her keynote on Thursday night of the convention, October 22, 2015, the National Day Against Police Brutality. Read more about the national convention and register to attend!