Yesha Callahan

Clutch’s People Of The Year: The Women Of Black Lives Matter

When George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, three women got together and decided enough is enough: it was time to make America and the world recognize that Black Lives Matter.



Stating from the get-go that “This is not a moment, but a movement,” Alicia GarzaPatrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi have stuck by their word and, three years later, arguably made 2015 the year of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The year that even in the midst of counter-efforts like #AllLivesMatter and #CopsLivesMatter, these women indirectly made mainstream media talk about black lives — the black lives that were heinously stripped from this earth by the hands of overzealous officers, allegedly of the law. The year that student activists on campuses across the United States like Yale, Princeton, the University of Cincinnati, and Mizzou took a page out of Alicia, Patrisse, and Opal’s book and made a list of demands their college administrators must meet to demonstrate a commitment to diversity and the development of safe spaces for students of color on predominately white campuses. The year that blacks in Brazil felt empowered by the example these women set in American to take on their government and demand a change from the status quo in São Paulo where the number of youth killed by police violence are three times more likely to be black than white.

This is also the year — and the first time in recent history — that presidential candidates have been forced to place the concerns of the black community on the list of key issues for their national agenda. In October, members of the Black Lives Matter movement met with Hillary Clinton about “de-centering the police as the key mechanism to ensuring safety in communities,” as Deray McKesson, one of the leaders of Campaign Zero, a group aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, explained to Politico at the time. And when the Democratic National Committee extended the offer for a special town hall for presidential candidates to discuss racial injustice, Black Lives Matter said no thanks, we want a full presidential debate devoted to our cause.

Further, in the face of claims of being a terrorist group and false controversy surrounding Shaun King, these women have refused to resort to the same vitriol coming from the right wing. Instead, they have remained steadfast in their purpose and calculated with their words and actions, exposing the real domestic terrorists in our country.

Above all, what these founders of the Black Lives Matter movement have done is refuse to let anyone forget the threat facing our community. In a news cycle that changes by the minute and a society easily distracted by the next tragedy, these women have forced African-Americans across the country to remain active days, weeks, and months after the outrage over a black death typically subsides. And they’ve also disallowed white America to brush our concerns under the rug, expecting us to simply “get over” the injustices we’ve endured for far too many years. For years, people have been asking who will lead the next generation of activists. Who will be the millennial Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X? We know have an answer to that question and their names are Alicia GarzaPatrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.

  1. December 10, 2015 - Reply

    Cheers to these three sisters who dare to be challenged and who stay the course in spite of the challenges they face daily. It takes a lot of guts, strength, and courage to win wars, and they and their allies prove that they have what it takes to be this generation’s soldiers. I support them 100%.

  2. December 10, 2015 - Reply

    Love the reasoning behind why these courageous women started BLM. Just wish others would not hijack and/or dilute its cause and the reason it needed to be created.

  3. December 10, 2015 - Reply

    hear hear!!!

    • December 12, 2015 - Reply


      Indeed. I have great admiration for all 3 black women. ?

  4. December 10, 2015 - Reply

    Centuries ago, our ancestors were in chains in the Americas, Africa, Asia, etc. Yet, in our history, we have faith and we did action to stand up to oppression, so our people fought evil in order for us to reach into that Promised Land (during the future). The Jena Six incident, the death of Sean Bell, the death of Rekia Boyd, and the death of Trayvon Martin represent tragedies that we will never forget. Three, beautiful, intelligent women created the Black Lives Matter movement. It has been slandered by many, but the BLM movement is still strong. It has been demonized by racists and reactionaries, but it persists. It persists, because truth is better than fiction and racial justice is a just cause to pursue. This struggle isn’t just for an end to police terrorism in our communities. It is a struggle to make sure that every black human life, irrespective of background, is treated with dignity and with respect. It is about fighting back against imperialism and seeking a living wage for all workers.

    It is about showing compassion to the homeless and showing true respect for the poor. This movement is about promoting unity among all people of Black African descent internationally and it is very inspiring to see three Sisters fighting for the liberation of black people. Their sacrifice, their enduring strength, and their wisdom are things that we cherish. We cherish love as there is no sin in love. Political independence is what we believe in. We also cherish truth and we will continue to fight. We will fight for the oppressed and we will fight for the principle that diversity in our community and unity of the calling or justice are part of our strength. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Septima, Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, and other heroes have passed away. Yet, these 3 Black Sisters are making them very happy with their activism.

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