It’s hard to believe, but the Black Lives Matter movement has now passed the 10-year mark since its 2013 founding in response to the acquittal of the man who fatally shot (i.e. murdered) 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Martin, a Black child, was walking home from a convenience store, minding his own business, when he was stalked, harassed, attacked and then gunned down by George Zimmerman. The killing happened in a Florida gated community where Martin’s father lived in 2012.

Martin was one of the earliest symbols of a movement that has grown and expanded to have its hand in various sectors of the community impacting the historically ominous intersection of Black people simply trying to live their lives and law enforcement that historians point out trace their roots to the “Slave Patrols” when Blacks were enslaved. These patrols were made up of white civilians given authority by their cities, counties and states, along with guns, to patrol, track down, harass, terrorize and “control” Black people so they did not venture “out of their place.”

The BLM movement shined a light on the fact that not much has changed over the past 200-plus years. Zimmerman’s call to police when he saw Martin walking home could literally be summed up as a white-identifying person complaining to police that a Black human being was “out of their place,” walking in a gated community.

And even though the police, even with their history of anti-Blackness, told Zimmerman to cease from stalking Martin, Zimmerman continued anyway, and ended up attacking and killing Martin.

Trayvon Martin’s parents participate in the Million Hoodie March.
Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin, foreground left, and Sybrina Fulton, foreground center, and the family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, background center, participate in the Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin in New York’s Union Square. Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo

The fact that he was neither arrested nor even charged immediately after the murder incensed Black people nationwide and others who believe in the concept of justice for all.

Zimmerman’s July 13, 2013 acquittal of second-degree murder led to three Black women organically founding what has now become the Civil Rights, Black Power and Human Rights movement of millennials and younger.

BLM co-founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Ayo Tometi — the three activists credited with using the phrase as an affirmation and an organizing strategy — initially pledged to build a decentralized organization governed by the consensus. That decision has been both praised for its brilliance and criticized for its naivete.

Their social media call to action grew even stronger after the August 2014 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.

BLM activists and organizations marked a decade of the movement with in-person and virtual events and calls to action for criminal justice reform and overhauling, reinvestments in Black communities that have suffered disproportionately from police brutality, an end to the grossly racially biased prison industrial complex and more.


Gift and a curse… The movement itself was a great thing, the ppl who ran the organization not so much. Abayomi Allen

Absolutely love the way this new generation picked up the baton and moved our movement forward. I ain’t gonna lie though. For a minute, I was wondering if our young people were ever gonna stand up for anything. Then they did. And they’re still standing. God bless Black Lives Matter, because Black Lives do matter. – Debra Palmares

I can’t even believe we are so dense as a people to fall for the banana in the tailpipe, i.e. believing all the negative BS white people have put out over the years to sully the reputation of BLM and its participants. We sound like the enemies of Black people shi**ing on Black people for standing up for Black people. WTF?!? – Halim Donkor

Unsurpped the inevitable modern Black movement. Funded by whites. Destroyed a legitimate Black movement and the financial mismanagement tarnished the image of all future Black movements. The head organizers did a disservice to all Black people. – Anelle Williams

Y’all can miss me with Black people attacking BLM. There would have been no global push for justice after George Floyd had it not been for the work BLM put in shining the light on them cockroach MFing cops who killed Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, etc, etc. The list is so damn long, I’m getting mad just thinking about it. – Kashasta Johnson

BLM = love for Black people and all humanity. White & Blue Lives Matter = to hell with you ni**gas. Basically. – Gennie Sampson

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...