BLACK LIVES MATTER LOS ANGELES
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles is the first chapter to form in what is now the global network. Organizers who are among the original members of Black Lives Matter poured into the streets on July 13, 2013, the day that George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Thousands of folks initially gathered in Leimert Park and the Crenshaw District, then engaged in intuitive organizing, shutting down spaces that represented White supremacy, like the Expo train line, the 10 freeway, Hollywood & Highland, and USC. Three days into the organic eruption, folks were called together by Patrisse Cullors, who had been in conversation with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi about how to build a “movement not a moment.” On July 15, 2013, roughly 30 organizers gathered in the courtyard of St. Elmo’s Village, a historic Black artist community, and committed our lives to the Black freedom struggle, adopting a womanist/Black nationalist framework, with a queer and trans lens.
Initially, we worked under the banner J4TMLA (Justice for Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles), with #BlackLivesMatter as our subscript, transitioning to #BlackLivesMatter as our primary identity within a few months. BLM Los Angeles is now one of the largest and most active chapters in the network, with nearly 500 trained and active members and organized ally groups, including White People for Black Lives.
Since 2013, Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles has engaged in intense struggle to advance freedom for Black people. We have done so by working to immediately respond to crises in our communities — including the murder of our people by police, topple systems that keep us oppressed, vision and build new structures, and offer spaces of Black love. The work that we do is constant, with at least four actions per week. Some of our most significant work has included #OccupyLAPD (18 day encampment in the name of #EzellFord), #DecolonizeLACityHall (54 day encampment in the name of #RedelJones), the successful #FireBeck campaign (former LAPD chief), #BlackXmas, #ReformLAJails (a coalition effort and ballot measure), the passing of a police transparency bill (SB1421 – a coalition effort), three cross-country freedom rides ( two to Ferguson for #MikeBrown and one to Cleveland for the first Movement for Black Lives convening), and the ongoing support for the families of those killed by police.
The struggle continues….and when we fight, we win. We encourage all who are committed to Black freedom to become involved in BLMLA.