Alicia Garza is credited with inspiring the slogan BlackLivesMatter when, after the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman, she posted on Facebook: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter, Black Lives Matter” which Patrice Cullors then shared with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Garza’s organization Black Lives Matter was spurred on by the deaths of black people by police in recent media and racial disparities within the U.S. criminal justice system. She was also struck by the similarities of Trayvon Martin to her younger brother, feeling that it could have been him killed instead. Garza led the 2015 Freedom Ride to Ferguson, organized by Cullors and Darnell Moore that launched the building of BlackLivesMatter chapters across the United States. Garza has been praised for being a queer woman with a bi-racial transgender spouse, bringing together diverse groups of people for the cause.
Alicia was recognized on the Root 100 list of African American Achievers between the ages of 25 and 45. She was also recognized on the Politico50 2015 guide to Thinkers, Doers, and Visionaries along with Cullors and Tometi. She has received the Local Hero award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has been twice awarded by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club the Bayard Rustin Community Activist Award for her work fighting racism and gentrification in San Francisco. She has also been awarded the Jeanne Gauna Communicate Justice Award from the Centre for Media Justice.