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Thursday, April 25, 2024
BLM Accent Speakers

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi will speak June 25 at 6:30 p.m.


Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi will speak June 25 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the UF Student Government Accent Speakers Bureau’s virtual summer series.

The free show will be held on Microsoft Teams, a virtual meeting program that hosts up to 10,000 participants at a time. Any student or faculty member with a valid UF email address can register for the event. Registration will close at noon on June 25 and students will then receive an email with a link to the livestream.

Cullors, Garza and Tometi will discuss racial injustice, including problems highlighted in recent protests following George Floyd’s murder, and how the Black Lives Matter movement began, according to Accent Chair Steven Wolf said.

He said Cullors and Garza, who openly identify as queer activists, will talk about the role they have played as Black queer leaders.

UF Black Student Union, Pride Student Union and Accent have organized the event together, according to the event press release. Accent, an SG organization that pays its speakers with student fees, paid comedian John Mulaney $50,000 to speak in May.

The Alligator requested the guest speaker’s contracts, but Wolf declined to comment on how much the speakers will be paid.

Cullors, Garza and Tometi, created the viral #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which now has chapters across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., according to the Black Lives Matter website.

The project was created in 2013 to end violence and oppression against Black people. The Black Lives Matter Movement has led protests across the country in the weeks since the murder of George Floyd.

UF has experienced racist incidents, and conversations about the university’s history with racism have drawn attention recently.

Students and locals protesting police brutality and systematic racism Saturday stopped at the O’Connell Center and said the building’s namesake, former UF president Stephen C. O’Connell, was racist. Students have attempted to rename it and other UF buildings for years.

Last week, SG announced UF graduate student Branden Pearson was removed from his position in SG after racist comments he made online resurfaced. And UF announced a prospective student would no longer attend the university in Fall after racist comments she made drew criticism online.

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Cullors is a social activist and the current faculty director of a new social and environmental arts practice program that she developed at Arizona’s Prescott College.

Garza, an internationally recognized writer and public speaker, has been published in Time, Marie Claire, The New York Times, and many others.

Tometi is a human rights advocate, strategist and writer. For over 15 years, she has worked as the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a U.S. immigrant rights organization for people of African descent.

Wolf said they started planning the event in the beginning of June. Since the event’s announcement on Facebook Wednesday afternoon, more than 400 people have shown interest in attending.

Contact Nicole at Follow her on Twitter @_nrodriguez99.

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