What is the meaning of Black Lives Matter? Alicia Garza breaks it down:
“Our movement is grounded in love. Less than 1% of all officers who involved in officer-related shootings (whether it be of people like Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, or Jordan Davis) are held accountable.
Right now, police officers are allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner. What we know about Alton Sterling, Philando Castile is that they were minding their business, going about their daily lives, and [then]] their lives were cut short because of their interaction with law enforcement.
We expect law enforcement to solve problems that cannot be solved by billy clubs, that cannot be solved by guns, that cannot be solved by jails.
We believe in a world where we keep each other safe, because our needs are met. Because we no longer have to struggle to be heard or fight to make ends meet. This movement has never trained anyone to kill anyone else. But our U.S. military does do that.
Our veterans, particularly those who are black, face an interesting contradiction. In and out of uniform, they are not afforded dignity and respect.
What Black Lives Matter means is not that everyone life’s doesnt matter. We’re not just concerned about police violence. [We are concerned about] lack of access to being able to feed your family, to have a roof over your head, to have a school where every student has books. [Black Lives Matter] means that in order for us to live in a society where all lives are valued equally, we have to pay attention to the fact that black lives do not matter–and take action to correct that discrepancy.
Some of us are registering voters. Some of us are trying to local candidates elected to office. Some of us are trying to un-elect prosecutors who throw our people behind bars for trivial reasons or no reason at all. If we’re serious about change we have to use every single tool in our toolbox.
The train is moving. Either you can get on or get off. We’re moving towards freedom whether you like it or not.”
-Alicia Garza, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter