February 18th, as part of the official recognition of Black History Month, President Obama met with a group of African-American leaders at the White House to discuss civil-rights issues. As Ifill later told me, “We were very much aware that this was the last Black History Month of this Presidency.”But the meeting was also billed as the “first of its kind,” in that it would bring together different generations of activists. Church, in Charleston, South Carolina—during Obama’s second term.The guests—who included Representative John Lewis, of Georgia; Sherrilyn Ifill, the director-counsel of the N. To that end, the White House had invited De Ray Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Aislinn Pulley, all of whom are prominent figures in Black Lives Matter, which had come into existence—amid the flash points of the George Zimmerman trial; Michael Brown’s death, in Ferguson, Missouri; and the massacre at the Emanuel A. Black Lives Matter has been described as “not your grandfather’s civil-rights movement,” to distinguish its tactics and its philosophy from those of nineteen-sixties-style activism.B/c there are things we can do now to make folks’ lives better today, tomorrow, & the day after.” Two weeks earlier, Mckesson had announced that he would be a candidate in the Baltimore mayoral race, and Obama’s praise, after the meeting, for his “outstanding work mobilizing in Baltimore” was, if not an endorsement, certainly politically valuable.That split in the response to the White House, however, reflected a larger conflict: while Black Lives Matter’s insistent outsider status has allowed it to shape the dialogue surrounding race and criminal justice in this country, it has also sparked a debate about the limits of protest, particularly of online activism.The family was not particularly political, but Garza showed an interest in activism in middle school, when she worked to have information about contraception made available to students in Bay Area schools.
“Even if they didn’t fully understand what it meant, they were supportive.” For a few years, Garza held various jobs in the social-justice sector.She found the work fulfilling, but, she said, “San Francisco broke my heart over and over.White progressives would actually argue with us about their right to determine what was best for communities they never had to live in.”In 2003, she met Malachi Garza, a gregarious, twenty-four-year-old trans male activist, who ran training sessions for organizers. In 2009, early on the morning of New Year’s Day, a transit-police officer named Johannes Mehserle fatally shot Oscar Grant, a twenty-two-year-old African-American man, in the Fruitvale station, in Oakland, three blocks from where the Garzas live. She is now a special-projects director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, in Oakland, which focusses on social justice in inner cities.Louis, did accept the invitation, and they later described the meeting as constructive.Mckesson tweeted: “Why did I go to the mtg w/ @ today?