Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza speaks to UC Berkeley students

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More than 200 people packed into a UC Berkeley School of Law lecture hall Monday to hear Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, clarify misconceptions and speak to the history of the movement.

Garza discussed topics ranging from slavery to intersectionality for more than an hour. She was the keynote speaker in a presentation entitled “Black Lives Matter: Where Do We Go From Here?” organized through the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice.

“It’s important that students and staff and faculty learn more about this movement principally because it’s a movement that will succeed or fail depending on how many different kinds of people are engaged in the deeper, broader message of the movement,” said Savala Trepczynski, executive director of the Henderson Center.

Among numerous other points, Garza talked about dispelling the common misconception that only Black men are killed by the police, citing the struggles of Black people who are women, queer or disabled.

“We don’t have to climb over each other to try to get some justice,” Garza said during her speech. “It’s all of us or none of us, no matter what. … It doesn’t work any other way.”

Garza went on to talk about Black-on-Black violence, white privilege and intrinsic racism.

“I’m really appreciative of (Garza),” said Chicano studies major Nancy Rubio, who was in attendance and has seen Garza speak before. “I love her light spirit and … the way she’s also able to laugh throughout, take pauses and really have love for everyone, talking about whiteness and white supremacy.”

Rubio added that one of her favorite parts of the presentation was Garza’s point that the movement is not an appeal to white sensibility but a project for Black people to rehumanize themselves.

Garza wrapped up the presentation by advocating for people to get involved through any means possible, such as voting in the Tuesday general election or joining organizations that fight for racial justice.

“You don’t have to be at the front of the march with a bullhorn,” Garza said during the presentation. “You just have to be in motion, doing something. Do something.”

Contact Fionce Siow at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fioncesiow.