By Shantae Taylor
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza spoke to the KU community on March 29 in Schaeffer Auditorium.
Garza came to KU to discuss the campaign that she created along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
“Black Lives Matter is a phrase, slogan, demand, hashtag and an organization,” said Garza.
She, along with her other two partners, created the organization in 2013 after the Trayvon Martin verdict. Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old black male, was killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was not found guilty.
“For this generation in 2012, the verdict of Trayvon Martin said that black lives didn’t matter. I became obsessed, how can you be able to get away with killing a child?” said Garza.
Garza said the media did everything they could to blame Martin for his own death, and that is why she decided to take action.
“Does it matter if you have your pants down your legs or wear a hoodie? It doesn’t matter, you still deserve to breathe. Black Lives Matter was a way for us to remember the inherent humanity in all of us,” said Garza.
Garza also added that the campaign is not what people may think due to media portrayals. Bill O’Reily has said that the Black Lives Matter campaign is a terrorist organization, according to Garza.
“We don’t condone anyone to act violently. We are an organization that invests in black people,” said Garza.
She closed by saying, “I want to end with this: where are we going from here? All of us can be courageous with each other. We can support the courage of young people who have joined this movement.”
After the speech students gave praise to the activist for coming and speaking on important issues.
“I thought the speaker was great because I think that it was a message that everybody needed to hear. We often don’t talk about race and she explained her point of view in a way that wasn’t offensive,” said Jacob Morrow, 21.