2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin sparks a movement.
Black Lives Matter was created in 2012 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The unarmed black teen was fatally shot by Zimmerman in February 2012, after walking through a gated Florida community wearing a hoodie and carrying a can of soda and a bag of candy. Zimmerman was acquitted of the killing, citing Florida's stand your ground laws as a defence.
After Zimmerman's acquittal, three young, black, female activists — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi — founded the Black Lives Matter movement. According to the organization's website, "Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum."
The group has no formal structure, but organizes protests over the deaths of black people at the hands of police and issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the U.S. justice system.
Police killing of Michael Brown galvanizes movement, triggers unrest in Ferguson, Mo.
More than a year after Zimmerman was acquitted, Michael Brown, another unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014. A grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed the 18-year-old, triggering widespread protests in the St. Louis suburb.
Protests spread as more black lives lost.
The deaths of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland sparked more protests across the United States. Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was killed after being put in a choke hold by an NYPD officer in July 2014. Garner was stopped by police for selling loose cigarettes and the officer involved in the incident was cleared by a grand jury. The hashtags #HandsUpDontShoot and #ICantBreathe galvanized support online from around the world.
Freddie Gray died April 19 of a severe spinal injury he suffered while in police custody. Six Baltimore police officers were charged in Gray's death. Jury selection in the trial of one of the officers began on Monday.
Sandra Bland was found dead in a Texas jail cell on July 13, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. The 28-year old was stopped by police for failing to signal a lane change. The conduct of the officer involved has been criticized, sparking the hashtag #BlackWomenMatter.
Video of Laquan McDonald death costs Chicago police superintendent his job.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Dec. 1, 2015, following days of protests over the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The black teenager died after he was shot 16 times by a white police officer in October 2014. Chicago police refused to release the video of the killing for more than a year.
And the movement rolls on.
Protests associated with the Black Lives Matter movement continue in the wake of McDonald's death and the initial refusal of Chicago police to release video of the deadly encounter.