Her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, also met with activists who came away saying that the senator was “very open to being pushed” toward their point of view.
The campaign of Republican aspirant Jeb Bush claimed that he, too, had met with the group, but this was later disputed by activists.
But the national protest movement that has emerged on this issue over the past two years does have a group, or coalition of groups, at its core, and it is called Black Lives Matter.
The Black Lives Matter website and the Twitter hash tag #Black Lives Matter had been launched in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tomeki—all in their thirties and all veteran activists. victories for the abolitionist movement.” The word “abolitionist” here refers to a vision of doing away entirely with the law-enforcement and criminal-justice systems.
Opal Tomeki, who describes herself as a “believer and practitioner of liberation theology,” is the New York–based executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
They were inspired to create Black Lives Matter out of anguish over the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer, ethnically white and Hispanic, who had shot to death the black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on Black Lives Matter while the Washington Post undertook a mammoth investigatory project to compile a complete data base on fatal police shootings, ferreting out twice as many as shown in FBI reports.
During its first year, the group drew little attention. In that Missouri city, on August 14, 2014, Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer.
The 18-year-old and 300-pound Brown, described as a “gentle giant,” carried no weapon at the time of his death.
And according to individuals who said they had witnessed the shooting, he had either been gunned down while running from the officer or facing him with his hands raised, pleading, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”The next day, Ferguson was convulsed in rioting, and protests broke out in other cities.
Black Lives Matter sponsored a series of “Freedom Rides” to Ferguson, and its Internet messages went viral.