It’s a modern-day civil rights movement that has firm roots in the African-American community, but Black Lives Matter has deservedly received international recognition.
Namely in Australia, where the Black Lives Matter Global Network has been awarded this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, which recognises “leading global voices that promote peace, justice and nonviolence.”
According to the award’s citation, the movement inspired people to “stand up locally, nationally and internationally” to demand respect for “human rights and equality,” and remind us “of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.”
It’s the first time the prize has been awarded to a movement, not a person. “It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition,” according to organiser Patrisse Cullors in a statement.
Cullors co-founded the movement alongside Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, where they started the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2013.
“It comes at a time when this movement is more important than ever.”
“It comes at a time when this movement is more important than ever — with an administration in office that is so openly racist, homophobic, anti-women, anti-children, anti-labour anti-immigrant. Black Lives Matter is our call to action, it is a tool to reimagine a world where black people are free to exist, free to live, and a tool for our allies to show up for us,” Cullors added.
The prize is awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation at the University of Sydney, with previous recipients including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Noam Chomsky, author Arundhati Roy, and activist Naomi Klein.
“Their courageous work is an inestimable contribution to progress towards a truly enlightened society,” Chomsky said of the award in a statement.
Black Lives Matter will receive the award at a ceremony in Sydney on Nov. 2.