Movement Co-Founder to Speak on the Evolution of 'Black Lives Matter'

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, will speak Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Page Auditorium at Duke University.

The 7 p.m. event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available from the Page Auditorium box office beginning Oct. 14 for members of the Duke community and starting Oct. 21 for the general public.

Cullors is a Los Angeles-based artist and activist. She co-founded #BlackLivesMatter in 2013 together with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin, a Florida African-American teenager, and the acquittal of shooter George Zimmerman.

What began as a social media hashtag on Twitter quickly became a broader movement, inspiring protests in response to a series of deaths of African-Americans in police custody. In particular, the movement gained visibility following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri. 

A former Fulbright Scholarship recipient, Cullors has also co-authored recent reports on the high rates of mental illness among black prison inmates.

The event is presented by Baldwin Scholars and DUU Speakers and Stage, a member group of the Duke University Union. DUU Speakers and Stage chair Gabrielle Sawyer, a 2015 graduate of Duke, said she hopes the event encourages open dialogue on campus.

“Our group’s goal is to unify the Duke community through a diverse array of programming,” Sawyer said. “Topics such as police brutality, systematic oppression and racial segregation must be discussed with the entirety of the Duke community.”

Event co-sponsors include Baldwin Scholars, the Office of Undergraduate Education, Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the Center for Arts, Digital Culture, and Entrepreneurship, the African and African American Studies department, DukeEngage, the Office of Civic Engagement, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Black Student Alliance, Gates Millennium Scholars, DESTA and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.