100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Alicia Garza

Photo by KK Ottesen

After the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, the Black Lives Matter movement became a lightning rod in the fight against state-sanctioned police violence and the oppression of Black people. Organizer Alicia Garza was instrumental in bringing the movement together, as one of three co-founders of Black Lives Matter. At the time, Garza had already spent nearly 20 years building strategies that support Black people “being powerful and having access to what everyone deserves.” With BLM, her voice on these issues began to be amplified through a national megaphone. And as a queer Black woman, she’s using that megaphone to expand people’s understanding of just who is affected by police and state violence. Martin and Brown were “catalysts” for the movement, she explains, but it is not just cisgender Black men who are in peril. “In order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” Garza has won numerous awards and accolades for her work from Forbes, Politico, Glamour, BET, and more, and she has been featured in publications such as Time, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Currently, Garza is the Strategy and Partnership Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she helps millions of domestic workers fight for dignity and fairness. She’s also the principal of the Black Futures Lab, which works to transform Black communities into powerful constituencies. Her career has had a number of “incredible successes,” she says, “and I really believe that the best is yet to come.” —SEJ