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Racial and Gender Justice

Black Lives Matter: Opening a Second Front

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The time has come—where it’s not happening already—to open up a “Second Front” in the direct action campaign to save and preserve Black lives in cities like Oakland, California.

The term “Black Lives Matter” was coined in the immediate aftermath of the July, 2013 acquittal of civilian George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But even before the term was created, the movement that would later be identified with it had already opened up its “First Front” following the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer at a BART station in East Oakland. The name “Black Lives Matter” now refers—sometimes interchangeably—both to the chapter organizations set up by the three women who coined the phrase as well as to the larger movement of organizations and individuals who rally under its banner. In this article, I use the term to refer to that larger movement and not necessarily the chapter organization.

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The Living Matter: Honoring Those in Our Midst

Window art highlighting the BLM cofounders in Portland, Oregon. cc. 2015 Travis Wise

By Opal Palmer Adisa

From the beginning, and throughout time, Black women have been formidable shakers and shapers in movements that have pushed for equality and justice for Black people and, by extension, for other people in the US and globally. Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi are sisters who are following the well-worn path of their foremothers (See sidebar).

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Kristine Mays

Kristine Mays c. 2016 Jarrel Phillips

"I refer to San Francisco as my city, my love or as my baby. My baby is in an awkward position right now. I feel like it’s in some awkward teenage stage where… you know, when you see an adolescent kid and they haven’t quite formed into anything yet. I question myself over and over again as to why I’m here in San Francisco. Why don’t I just throw in the towel and go somewhere else? Yet, I’m still curious to see what’s going to happen. What’s going to come out of it?..."

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