Alicia Garza (1981-  ) is an American activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. She is nationally published and has brought awareness to multiple issues including health, students’ rights, police brutality, rights for domestic workers, anti-racism, violence against transgender, and gender non-conforming people of color.  Garza was born Alicia Schwartz and grew up in a mixed-race, mixed-religious home. She embraced activism early while in her teens by promoting birth control education at school. Alicia continued her love of activism as a student at the University of California, San Diego by advocating for higher pay for university janitors. Armed with a degree in sociology and anthropology, she met Malachi Garza, a transgender man, and activist. In 2004, Alicia came out to her family as queer, and in 2008, she married Garza. The couple then settled in Oakland, California.

In July 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. In response, Alicia Garza wrote in a Facebook post, “I continue to be surprised at how little Black lives matter… Our lives matter.” Patrisse Cullors shared the post with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. This gesture took on a life of its own as more killings of Black people by police increased. The movement also brought awareness to mass incarceration, over-criminalization, and police militarization.

Alicia Garza continues her work as an activist as director of special projects at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is an author and a recipient of multiple awards including Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.


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