The women who founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement received a Women of the Year award yesterday, saying that “this is the time to build a movement in the millions” following Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.
Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors and Opal Tometi were instrumental in the founding of the movement, and in their own words, have “created space for the celebration and humanization of Black lives.” Garza, Cullors and Tometi were honored for their work at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday by Shonda Rhimes, who said “It is a helpless and terrifying feeling to walk out the door each morning and wonder if you or someone you love won’t make it home alive.”
Paying tribute to the three activists, Rhimes said, “They took that hashtag from social media to the streets, they channelled our collective anger, frustration, grief and determination into action. These women have fundamentally altered the course of civil rights in America.”
Receiving the award, Garza said, “This is not the time for us to sit back and wonder what we’re going to do, this is time to build a movement in the millions,” referring to the Dakota pipeline protests as well as the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Co-founder Tometi urged the audience that it was “incumbent on every single one of us to stand up and defend our diverse communities,” adding that “we deserve a multiracial democracy that works for all of us.” Finishing the group’s acceptance speech, Patrice Cullors invited the audience to stand and join in the movement’s powerful chant: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”