Alicia Garza, an Oakland, California–based organizer, writer, public speaker, and self-described “freedom dreamer,” is currently the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for the millions of domestic workers in the United States. Garza, along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, also cofounded Black Lives Matter, a globally recognized organizing project that focuses on combatting anti-Black state-sanctioned violence and the oppression of all Black people. Garza proclaims provocatively and proudly, “When Black people are free, everyone is free.”
Critically, Garza’s leadership as a queer Black woman challenges the misconception that only cisgender men of color encounter police and state violence. While the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were catalysts for the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Garza is clear that the issues around race, rights, and privileges in this country extend far beyond interactions between African American men and police. For Garza, in order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of racial violence is in the United States, we must come to terms with and work to solve this epidemic through of a lens of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.