Alicia Garza, social activist and co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, will speak at the University of South Florida at 8 p.m. today (doors open at 7:30 p.m.) as part of the student-run University Lecture Series in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.
The lecture is part of the university’s MLK Commemorative Week, celebrating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The student organizers of the event expect Garza to engage the audience in a discussion about race relations in America and how her organization’s activism became the national movement it is today, galvanizing individuals to stand up together against violence, police brutality and social injustice.
According to Garza’s bio, her work helped #BlackLivesMatter grow from a social media phenomenon into a human rights organization. The movement began with Garza’s social media posts in the wake of George Zimmerman’s 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. Along with co-creators Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, she turned the hashtag into an organizing network of more than 26 chapters and a rallying cry of human rights marches.
Garza’s career has put her at the intersection of organizational strategies and social movements. As executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), she organized against police violence in black communities. In 2015, she was named to The Root 100 list of African-American achievers and influencers between ages 25-45 and the Politico 50 guide to thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics. She is now special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
The lecture is free and open to the public on a limited first come, first served basis following priority seating for USF students.