The Black Lives Matter Movement Commemorates 10 Years

July 13, 2023 marks ten years since the Black Lives Matter movement was founded by activists Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. The movement was born after the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman. The teenager, who was Black, was gunned down near his father’s residence in Florida after purchasing a pack of Skittles, according to CNN. He had been profiled by Zimmerman, a white Hispanic male, who assumed that Martin was a robber. Zimmerman was acquitted by an almost exclusively white jury. The aftermath of Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal sparked anger across the country, and his death led to a nationwide push for police reform.  

Now, the Black Lives Matter organization is a global network. It will commemorate this day with in-person and virtual events, as well as efforts to defund the police. Melina Abdullah, who is the director of BLM Grassroots Inc., spoke to Click Orlando about the movement. “What this movement moment means is that we have to absolutely redouble our efforts and redouble our commitment to making Black lives matter,” she said.

On July 15, the Los Angeles chapter will be holding the “#BLMTurns10 People’s Justice Festival” in Leimert Park. The event will feature a garden dedicated to victims of police violence and and a speech by Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. Philosopher and political activist Dr. Cornel West, who recently announced his candidacy for the presidency, will also make an appearance.

Ahead of its festival, the Black Lives Matter movement is leading a campaign called the Defund the Police Week of Action. There are also calls for a draft proclamation, declaring July 13 “Black Lives Matter Day.”

“As we continue our push to defund the police, invest in Black communities and reimagine safety in our communities, we need our elected officials to focus on the people, not police. The safest places around the world don’t have more police, more jails, more prisons, or harsher sentences. They have better access to economic opportunities, quality education, stable housing, and health care,” D’Zhane Parker, a board member of BLM Global Network Foundation, said in a statement.

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