ORGANIZER, ARTIST, & CO-FOUNDER of BLACK LIVES MATTER
Patrisse Cullors is an American organizer, artist, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and founder of Dignity & Power Now. Patrisse is currently touring cities with her multimedia performance art piece POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied.
Born in Los Angeles, Patrisse Cullors has had a lifelong commitment to community organizing and creative inn. At 22-years-old Patrisse was recognized for her work as a transformative organizer by receiving the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. She has served as the Executive Director of the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails, co-founded a prison activism organization Dignity and Power Now, and serves on the board of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Patrisse earned a degree in Religion and Philosophy from UCLA, and now teaches at the Otis College of Art and Design.
Patrisse was named as a civil rights leader of the 21st century by Los Angeles Times and was honored as Glamour Magazine’s 2016 Woman of the Year. Cullors is an NAACP History Maker and is a Fulbright scholar. Patrisse has earned a host of honorary designations from Chicago’s South Shore International College Preparatory High School, Clarkson University and other academic institutions.
Cullors' organizing is deeply influenced by her own life experiences - her own brother was brutalized during his time in the prison system, and she is a queer woman who was raised in the Jehovah's’ Witnesses church and was forced from her own home when she came out to her parents at 16.Patrisse considers herself an organizer, rather than an activist, because her interest lies in mobilizing people on the ground, and building strength and coalitions from the ground up.
#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. The Official #BlackLivesMatter Organization was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. #BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and their allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement. #BlackLivesMatter has become the most important movement in recent history.