Mission: To foster connections between black people and their allies in the fight against anti-black racism, spark dialogue among black people, and encourage social action and engagement.
About the Organization: Black Lives Matter works to affirm the lives of all black people, including those who have been marginalized by earlier black liberation movements — LGBTQ people, the disabled, the undocumented, people with conviction records, women, and others. The organization got its start in July 2013, when workers-rights activist Alicia Garza reacted to the news of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin by posting a statement on Facebook: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.” Her friend and fellow California activist Patrisse Cullors added a hashtag, and, with the help of New York-based immigration activist Opal Tometi, the #BlackLivesMatter movement was born. With the help of volunteer cultural workers, artists, designers, and others, the movement became an online forum for efforts to roll back racist policies, practices, and social structures that negatively affect the lives of black Americans. Although it does not have a central office or 501(c)(3) designation, the organization is physically represented by chapters in twenty-seven urban centers nationwide and one in Canada. Earlier this month, the Chronicle of Philanthropy included Cullors, Garza, and Tometi in its “40 Under 40” list, a selection of forty young leaders under the age of 40 who are behind some of the social sector's boldest ideas.
Current Programs: Each of the organization’s twenty-eight chapters determines its own agenda and activities, which have included protests, petitions, statements, letter-writing campaigns, fundraising for films, and Twitter chats.
Website: Black Lives Matter’s bold yellow-and-black website provides an events portal (including a calendar) for anyone wishing to participate in or share information about an event related to the organization’s mission. A statement of guiding principles spells out the organization’s ideology and political goals. On its get involved page, visitors can contact the organization, find a local chapter, make a purchase of campaign merchandise, and/or make a donation.
Funding: Black Lives Matter is supported by individual donors.