The group, which is reportedly financed by the Koch brothers, became known internationally amid protests in Ferguson, Mo., after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man.
Founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, the movement seemed to make headlines daily during Obama’s presidency, but their presence appears to have waned in recent months.
However, Cullors — who is writing a memoir — tells the L.A. Times that BLM is more relevant than ever, as she reflected on the state of the group and its future.
Peep some excerpts below.
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Does Black Lives Matter even matter today?
I think Black Lives Matter is very relevant today, especially given the rise of white supremacists and white nationalists across, not just this country, but across the globe. And so our work over the last four years has been putting anti-black racism on the map, talking about the impact anti-black racism has on this country, has on local government, has on policy and how it actually impacts the everyday life of black people.
Left-wing groups accuse BLM of not being visible enough under President Trump. Are they right?
I would actually challenge the media, because the media has in large part focused primarily on Trump and his administration. And so, as our folks have continued to organize locally, have continued to, not just hit the streets, many of our people are thinking about how to enact a political strategy. How do we build black power in this moment? How do we actually get people in office?
It’s not a hashtag that built the movement. It was organizers, activists, educators, artists — people who built an actual infrastructure so that a movement can exist and have life. And if the media was interested in the everyday strategy they would know that Black Lives Matter is not just still here, that it’s thriving and it’s doing some of its best work in this moment.
Trump has called BLM a threat. Is the door open to talk to him?
It’s not. And we wouldn’t take the invitation.
We wouldn’t as a movement take a seat at the table with Trump, because we wouldn’t have done that with Hitler. Trump is literally the epitome of evil, all the evils of this country — be it racism, capitalism, sexism, homophobia.
He has set out some of the most dangerous policies, not just that impacts this country but impacts the globe. And so for us, the answer is not to sit with him but to resist him and to resist every single policy that he’s implemented that impacts our communities.
And … if I’m thinking about what I want my children to know in 30, 40, 50 years, I want them to know that I resisted a president at all costs, because this president literally tried to kill our communities, and is killing our communities.
What kind of influence do you want to have on policing?
I want to see Black Lives Matter be able to ultimately reduce law enforcement funding.
People often ask the question, why reduce their funding? Because they’re the one industry in our nation, and locally in particular, that is given more money than education or access to education, resources to shelter, resources to people to have access to healthy food. Over the last 30, 40 years what we’ve seen is the pouring of millions of dollars into law enforcement and literally divesting from communities, especially poor communities. And so our argument is … they can start divesting from law enforcement and reinvesting into our communities.
Where do you see BLM four years from now?
One of the biggest places that I see us will be in local and national government. I think you’ll see, not just black people, but black folks and our allies really pushing to be a part of local government, city government and national government — to move to be mayor, county board of supervisors, to be on boards.
Head over to the L.A. Times to read the full interview.