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The Wheeler Centre

Black Lives Matter: In Conversation  /  Race & multiculturalism

In February 2012, an unarmed African-American high-school student, Trayvon Martin, was shot dead in Sanford, Florida. His death was a flashpoint in American race relations, sparking protests across the United States and the beginning of a totally new kind of civil-rights movement: #blacklivesmatter.

Left to right: Jack Latimore, Patrisse Cullors and Rodney Diverlus — Photo: Jon Tjhia

The movement – founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza – fights for justice and dignity for black people. Diffuse, inclusive and multifaceted, #blacklivesmatter has built momentum online and, crucially, on the ground. Its activists have enjoyed wins in court rooms, in the media, on the streets and in Barack Obama’s White House. The message has resonated across the globe, with large turnouts for rallies not just across the US but also in Brazil, Australia, South Africa and other countries.

In Australia to collect the Sydney Peace Prize, two of Black Lives Matter’s founders and leaders – Cullors, and Toronto BLM Chapter co-founder Rodney Diverlus – talk with Jack Latimore about the achievements and broader goals of #blacklivesmatter … and how we can translate the lessons of the movement to face and fight entrenched inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia (with whom they've spent significant amounts of time ahead of this conversation).

Among other topics, they discuss the importance of sustained activism, inclusive and nuanced ideas of 'blackness', and an empowering movement unconstrained by national borders or charismatic leadership.

(Note: This podcast episode contains a discussion of online abuse, which includes strong language.)

Alicia Garza on Black Lives Matter Watch

Due to illness, Alicia Garza was unable to join us for this event. In lieu of her appearance, she recorded a short video message covering some of her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, and explaining why looking after one's health is important to organisers.

Photo: Jon Tjhia

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