Francesca Quigley, Staff Writer
October 23, 2015
“Every 28 hours, a black person who is unarmed is murdered in the United States by a police officer, a vigilante or a security guard,” said Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. “That’s happening many times with impunity, and we see this as a pandemic.”
The Black Lives Matter movement began after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman was later acquitted.
Since 2012, the movement has developed into multiple chapters around the country and continues to organize and act in response to state violence against bodies of color using a multitude of methods, one being the scheduling of particular Black Lives Matter weeks in different areas.
Senior Teresa Bedzigui began organizing a Black Lives Matter week at Guilford when she was contacted by Patrisse Cullors’ agent, who let Bedzigui know that Cullors, co-founder of the movement, would be in the area speaking at Duke University. Bedzigui was immediately interested, but worried it was a long shot.
“In that moment I realized, this is big,” said Bedzigui. “This needs to happen and I got to campus with that on my mind.”
“I got here and I was like, this black woman needs to come through. We need to create space for her on this historically and predominantly white campus. It just needs to happen.”
Happen it did. Cullors will spend an evening at Guilford during #BLM week on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, and that speech is not the only event happening during the week.
“This week of events is important to the development of representation at Guilford,” said junior and co-organizer of #BLM week Brandee Craig.
“How can we preach about diversity, equality and acceptance when almost every speaker that is in the Bryan Series is white, cis, or has a high level of education? We connect and learn more when our actions match with our words.”
Events for #BLM week at Guilford will continue through Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. On Wednesday, there will be a “Black Lives Matter” local panel in the Leak room of Duke Hall on which students, professors, and local organizers will speak.
A community speak-out about Black Lives Matter will be held on Thursday in Founders Hall at 7:30 p.m. Finally, on Friday night, residents can venture downtown to Scuppernong Books for an open mic night starting at 7:15 p.m.
“The poetry show will have pieces that speak directly to the black experience both locally and globally,” said Scuppernong Books in a statement on their website.
“As we are celebrating black lives, it is important that the community gathers to share stories, wisdom and love.”
Social media, along with other tools such as protests, community meetings and more, is widely used for spreading the word about the Black Lives Matter movement.
The creation of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag went viral and boosted the movement’s reknown early on.
The Black Lives Matter website contains background and current news along with ways to get connected and involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. You have a few days. Study up!