- Full Name Alicia Garza
- Occupation Civil Rights Activist, Author
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Los Angeles, California, U.S.
- Birth Date Jan 04, 1981
- Age 42 Years, 10 Months
- Sexual Orientation Queer
"How do we stop violence, looting, and riots? The way that we stop that is by making sure that people have the things that they need to thrive."
“It's important to understand that declaring that Black lives matter does not negate the significance of the lives of non-Black people, particularly non-Black people of color. But Black lives are uniquely and systematically attacked in our society. Black Lives Matter addresses its own necessity in the phrase itself: Black lives do not have value or merit in our society.”
“I learned that racism, like most systems of oppression, isn't about bad people doing terrible things to people who are different from them but instead is a way of maintaining power for certain groups at the expense of others.”
"Diversity is what happens when you have representation of various groups in one place. Representation is what happens when groups that haven’t previously been included, are included. Intersectionality is what happens when we do everything through the lens of making sure that no one is left behind. More than surface-level inclusion, or merely making sure everyone is represented, intersectionality is the practice of interrogating the power dynamics and rationales of how we can be together."
Alicia Garza | Biography 2021Founder of Black Futures Lab
On 26 February 2012, a neighborhood watch coordinator named George Zimmerman fatally shot an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. After more than a year, on 13 July 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges. Since Martin was the friend of Garza’s brother Joey, the Zimmerman verdict affected Garza greatly. She shared her frustration on Facebook and wrote a series of posts titled ‘A Love Letter to Black People,’ which she concluded affirming, “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”
Alicia Garza is an American civil rights activist and author. She is famously known for co-creating the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” which later became a global phenomenon.
Who is Alicia Garza?
One of three co-founders of the globally famous Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza coined the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in July 2013 when Garza wrote a Facebook post in response to a jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman, who had fatally shot a black teenager named Trayvon Martin. Later, Garza’s fellow activist Patrisse Cullors modified the phrase of Garza’s post and created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Together with Cullors and another activist Opal Tometi, Garza officially launched the Black Lives Matter movement and also co-founded Black Lives Matter Global Network in 2013.
In July 2017, Garza established Black Futures Lab with a mission to make Black communities powerful in politics. Garza has authored a book titled ‘The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart,’ published on 20 October 2020.
Early Biography: Parents and Education
Born on 4 January 1981 in Los Angeles, California, Alicia Garza has mixed ethnicity. She was raised by her African-American mother and Jewish stepfather in Marin County. Even though her family did not have any political background, Garza became an activist in middle school at the age of 12 while examining the school-based programs that made contraception available to students. She then started advocating in support of sex education, pregnancy prevention, and stopping violence against women.
After completing high school, she went to the University of California, San Diego. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Sociology in 2002. Later, she graduated with a Master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University in 2017.
Early Activism and Works for Societal Causes
In 2003, Garza interned at the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), an Oakland-based training organization for social justice organizers. Upon completing her internship, she started working as an Organizer for Just Cause Oakland in August 2003.
Garza worked there for around nearly a year. After that, she began working as Assistant Organizing Director at the University of California Student Association, where she provided training and technical assistance to students for eight months. In March 2005, Garza joined People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), a San Francisco-based multiracial organization aiming to gain economic, racial, and gender justice. She served POWER as Executive Director and worked there for almost nine years.
In 2011, Garza was elected board chair for Right to the City Alliance (RTTC) in Oakland, an organization fighting gentrification and displacement suffered in communities of the working class and people of color.
In October 2013, Garza started working as Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) in Oakland, California.
From January 2018, Garza started serving as the Strategy and Partnerships Director for NDWA. In April 2019, she co-founded a women’s advocacy organization called Supermajority with activists Ai-jen Poo and Cecile Richard.
Garza has frequently written opinion pieces and commentaries on topics such as politics, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Her articles and editorials have been featured in several publications, including Time, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Feminist Wire, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, Elle, and Essence.
On 26 February 2012, a neighborhood watch coordinator named George Zimmerman fatally shot an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. After more than a year, on 13 July 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges.
Since Martin was the friend of Garza’s brother Joey, the Zimmerman verdict affected Garza greatly. She shared her frustration on Facebook and wrote a series of posts titled ‘A Love Letter to Black People,’ which she concluded affirming, “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”
Later, Patrisse Cullors, a fellow activist, modified the last three words and created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Soon they reached out to another fellow activist, Opal Tometi, and they officially launched the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement form to deter injustice and racially motivated violence towards African Americans. The trio also jointly created the Black Lives Matter Global Network.
Black Futures Lab
After getting insights from Black Lives Matter, Garza founded Black Futures Lab in July 2017. She says that the nonprofit organization primarily focuses on transforming Black people into active, interdependent, and responsive public partners that build independent, progressive political power at the local, state, and national levels. In 2018, the Black Future Labs surveyed Black people, which Garza calls “the largest survey of Black people in America in 15 years.” The data obtained from the survey went into developing a policy platform called Black Agenda that highlighted the most talked-about concerns in Black communities, including raising the minimum wage, creating more opportunity for homeownership, and limiting police presence in schools.
Book: The Purpose of Power and Podcast
On 20 October 2020, Garza published her first book titled ‘The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart.’ The book is about building the type of movements that can address the challenges the world is facing.
To share her political thoughts and pop culture, Garza launched a weekly podcast, Lady Don’t Take No, on 11 April 2020.
In 2004, at age 23, Garza came out as queer to her family. In 2008, she married a transgender male activist Malachi Garza, whom she met in 2003.
Did You Know?
Garza has tattooed Jamaican American poet June Millicent Jordan's poem “Poem about My Rights” on her chest. The black inked tattoo has a small font. The tattooed part of the poem reads:
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name My name is my own my own my own and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this but I can tell you that from now on my resistance my simple and daily and nightly self-determination may very well cost you your life.