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Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors

In July 2013, a new movement emerged on social media, one focused on police brutality and racially motivated violence against Black people; included at the forefront of this movement was Patrisse Cullors, an artist and activist from Los Angeles. As a teenager, her involvement with social movements began with the Bus Riders Union; while the focus of her activism was on racially discriminatory policies in the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, her involvement with the group would allow her to attend a lengthy program focusing on organizing social protests.

In 2013, following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, Cullors partnered with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, both fellow activists and community organizers, to create the Black Lives Matter movement. While this was partly motivated by the unending barrage of instances of violence against Blacks shown on social media, for Cullors it was also a personal issue, stemming from her brother's mistreatment while incarcerated in jails in Los Angeles County. As an individual, Cullors supports the abolition of the prison and policing systems, particularly regarding the growing militarization seen in these two areas. As such, she is a co-founder of a group called Dignity and Power Now, a group of prison activists that successfully promoted a civilian oversight board in Los Angeles. While she supports direct action as a method of protest, she qualifies it by insisting upon nonviolent direct action, a belief she incorporated in the foundation of the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to her work as a political and social activist, Cullors also teaches in the master's program for Social Justice and Community Organizing at Prescott College.

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