The uprising of Black Americans and their allies that exploded into the national consciousness, and hit the streets and social media after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman in 2013, is the most important US social movement in recent history. East Bay activists have been crucial leaders. Oaklanders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors helped give the movement a name: #BlackLivesMatter. New East Bay activist collectives like Black.Seed and the Anti-Police Terror Project have organized dozens of direct actions against state violence and discrimination. And older groups, too numerous to name, have helped guide the movement. On a national level, Black Lives Matter has gotten cops charged with homicide in South Carolina and Maryland, and catalyzed countless reforms to combat police violence in cities across America. In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Missouri, the movement sparked a national debate not just about policing, but also about America’s rigged systems of municipal laws and services. And most recently #BlackLivesMatter toppled a seemingly permanent symbol of racism — the Confederate flag. What will this movement accomplish next?
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