Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza Named Speaker for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Office of Multicultural Affairs within the Division of Student Affairs is hosting a series of events in February. The month-long celebration officially kicks off on Feb. 1.

Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza

The commemorative speaker this year is Alicia Garza, an established social activist who co-created the viral Twitter hashtag and movement #BlackLivesMatter. Garza will speak on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Outraged by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Garza took to social media to express her anguish and love for the black community. Ending her message with Our Lives Matter/We Matter/Black Lives Matter, Garza—together with co-creators Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors—turned those powerful last words into a Twitter hashtag. Immediately prompting activism nationwide, #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into the banner under which this generation’s civil rights movement marches.

An established social activist committed to challenging society to recognize and celebrate the contributions of all individuals, specifically black people and queer communities, Garza’s activism is rooted in organizational strategies to connect individuals and emerging social movements. She is also a prominent advocate for the preservation of an open Internet to provide a space for these movements to emerge. Garza’s work has earned her various honors, including two Harvey Milk Democratic Club Community Activist Awards. In 2015, Garza, Tometi and Cullors were honored with inclusion on The Root’s Top 100 List for the Black Lives Matter movement’s social and political impact.

Currently the special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Garza previously served as executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, where she led the charge on significant initiatives, including organizing against the chronic police violence in black neighborhoods.

Empowering and enlightening, Garza serves as a beacon for individuals and organizations across the country fighting against the plague of social injustice, and galvanizes citizens to organize and stand together to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally.

The event is co-sponsored by Cold Case Justice Initiative, Cultural Foundations of Education, Democratizing Knowledge Project, Department of African American Studies, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, School of Education, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Renée Crown University Honors Program, Syracuse University Humanities Center, Intergroup Dialogue, LGBT Resource Center, LGBT Studies, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, University College, the Writing Program, Co-Curricular Fee Funding and ALANA Cultural Center Colgate University. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided.

For more information on the University’s Black History Month celebration, visit the Office of Multicultural Affairs website or contact Cedric Bolton, coordinator of student engagement, at 315-443-9676. A full list of events and programs for Black History Month will also be posted on the Office of Multicultural Affairs website.

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