The Black Lives Matter movement began with a commitment to ending police brutality and state-sanctioned violence and injustice against black people. It is also dedicated to affirming black people’s “contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression,” according to its founders. The movement was started by three black women—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi—following the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida man who had shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, the preceding year. Garza took to social media the night of that acquittal, stating in part, “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.” A year later, Michael Brown, another unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; the officer was not indicted. Shortly thereafter, the internet was filled with messages of outcry and support that included #BlackLivesMatter (J. Pitts, "Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters," 2017).
Today, the Black Lives Matter 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, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives (BlackLivesMatter.com).