It’s been five years since Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors came together in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin to affirm that Black Lives Matter, and since then their efforts have spawned a movement. Now comprised of a global network of more than 40 chapters, Black Lives Matter continues to push for changes that will lead to the improvement of all Black lives.
While their work has been recognized and replicated across the world, Garza and Tometi’s role with the Black Lives Matter Global Network is changing. The pair will cease directly working on the daily operationations and serving as spokespersons for the organization, while Cullors will continue with the group.
“Both Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi will discontinue to work on the day-to-day operations and as spokespersons for the organization to focus on other impactful, like-minded projects and initiatives,” Cullors wrote in a statement.
“I will remain with Black Lives Matter Global Network as a spokesperson, senior advisor and key strategist,” Cullors continued. “I will also continue to work with BLM staff and network members as the Black Lives Matter movement enters its fifth year, and formulates and implements its 2018-2023 strategic plan.”
All three Black Lives Matter founders are longtime activists and organizers and Tometi and Garza will continue to work toward a better world for Black people. Tometi is the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), an organization that focuses on advocating for Black immigrants, and Garza is using her experience with BLM to push more more political engagement and power for Black communities.
Garza’s latest initiative, the Black Futures Lab, aims to “develop strategies that help Black people imagine the political, social and economic alternatives needed at the local, state, and federal level, while also building the political power needed to implement those alternatives.”
Up first for the group is the Black Census Project, which hopes to survey 200,000 Black people from across the U.S. and find out what’s important to them and how they can go about getting it.
With Donald Trump in office, Garza recently told The Huffington Post that increasing the political power of Black communities is imperative.
“We have a president that is openly supportive of white nationalist groups and working alongside his administration to dismantle the tatters of what was left of a safety net in this country and also working hard to dismantle organizations that work for the end of economic and political and emotional support of Black people,” she said.
“It’s time for a survey that really captures the experiences that Black people are facing in these communities and it’s time to do that in a way that also captures the diversity of communities that black folks are living in,” Garza said. “We really want to capture the breadth and the complexity of who are communities are and we plan to use that information to influence decisions that are made about us.”