Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement that began as a call-to-action campaign against state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism towards black people. The organization was formed by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi in 2013. In response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, Black Lives Matter has built with local groups to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by law enforcement and vigilantes. The movement gained national attention following the 2014 deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
By 2016, Black Lives Matter had grown into a national network with more than 30 local chapters. The overall Black Lives Matter movement is decentralized, with no formal hierarchy. Its platform is recognized by the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Since 2014’s Ferguson protests in response to the killing of Brown, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous others in the black community—most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—and were heavily active around the 2016 United States presidential election.
In reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, phrases such as “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” sprang up as efforts to dismiss or distort the message of the organization.