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Black Lives Matter

This guide is meant to serve as a jumping-off point for students and faculty to gain a better understanding of the events related to the Black Lives Matter movement, including the death of unarmed black Americans by police and the subsequent protests.

Banner image shows 3 Black adults with fist raised in front of a blue background with the text Black Lives Matter

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, #BlackLivesMatter are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

Timeline of significant events related to the Black Lives Matter movement:

July 13, 2013
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman

August 9, 2014
Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, is fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking protests and riots.

April 12, 2015
Freddie Gray dies from injuries sustained while in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland, leading to protests and unrest.

June 17, 2015
A white supremacist gunman kills nine African American worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

November 15, 2015
Protests erupt nationwide after the release of a video showing a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, in Chicago.

July 5, 2016
Alton Sterling is shot and killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sparking protests.

July 6, 2016
Philando Castile is shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, leading to nationwide protests.

May 25, 2020
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, dies after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneels on his neck for over nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparking global protests.

September 23, 2020
The decision is announced that none of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor's death in Louisville, Kentucky, will be charged directly for killing her, leading to renewed protests.

***Please note this timeline is not exhaustive but highlights key moments in the Black Lives Matter movement's history.***

An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter | Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi

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This guide has been extensively modified, yet inspired from an original, used with permission from librarians at the University of Arizona. Please incorporate these resources or copy the whole guide, you have their permission! and ours. Also consider signing Safiya Noble's statement from information studies academics and professions to affirm #BlackLivesMatter.