By Jax DiEugenio
Alicia Garza, civil rights activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, addressed the College in a discussion with Black Student Union (BSU) on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Garza offered her insight into deep-rooted and widespread issues spanning how and why communities should get involved in activism against the ongoing race war in America. In doing so, she provided listeners with the tools to spread change effectively in the face of adversity.
Discussing her book “The Purpose of Power” published in October of 2020, Garza explained how the Black Lives Matter movement started and said that it far surpasses the simple use of a hashtag on social media.
“A question that I get asked most frequently is ‘How do I turn a hashtag into a movement?’ and I have to be honest, it used to drive me bananas… I don’t see the importance of hashtags in the way that Black Lives Matter movements have progressed… I fundamentally believe that movements are about putting more power directly into the hands of more people,” Garza said.
She went on to explain how her book aimed to “pull back the curtains” in order to explain what makes a movement such as this truly effective. One of these ways, she explained, is to increase citizen participation in lawmaking.
“Something that I dream about all the time is that all of our communities would be powerful in the processes of decision making that are shaping every single one of our lives right now,” Garza said.
In relation to community involvement, Garza explained that it is easy for people to place blame onto different groups of people and follow a false narrative in which one group acts as the “parasites” not contributing to the growth of society.
Garza explained that the real problems do not lay within members of a certain community, but within the inner workings of corporate interests.
“More and more of us are being preyed upon not by each other, but by corporate and financial interests that are draining our communities of our infrastructure and the things that we need to live well,” Garza said.
Within the discussion, many attendees asked Garza what they could do to help promote and spread this positive change within their communities.
Offering a message to those who wish to help promote and sustain this change in America, Garza said, “The best piece of advice that I can give, is to prepare yourself for a wild ride. Some change happens very slowly, but other changes happen very fast. The key is to try and understand what’s what.”
In order to sustain change, Garza explained that every individual must do their part, stating, “I think it’s important to commit yourself for the rest of your life to be somebody who makes this country better and who makes and forces this country to live up to the promise that it has espoused ever since its founding.”