Spearheaded by the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Travon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement was born. Black womxn activists—Alicia Garza, Opal Tometti, and Patrice Cullors Khan—employed social media as a tool of engagement and connection to share their pain and discontent for yet another Black person who had fallen victim to state violence at the hands of citizen vigilantism. Since its inception in 2013, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become the premier organizing and activism medium for Black youth, particularly in teaching and learning spaces that center critical analysis of whiteness, white privilege, and white supremacy.
In 2019, four hundred years after the first Africans arrived on the shores of Jamestown, VA, Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, launched the Year of Return, an initiative intended to encourage African diasporans, specifically descendants of those who survived the Maafa (the African Holocaust) to return to Africa, to Ghana, to visit, invest and ultimately repatriate. This event, produced and engaged in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter, provided various mediums for diasporans to amplify and expand their interpretation of Black liberation, and hence, how the pursuit of such is viewed through various academic, social, and community-based initiatives.
In response to the murder of George Floyd and the civil unrest of the summer of 2020 that followed, this All #BlackLivesMatter Special Issue of Understanding & Dismantling Privilege seeks to address the diversity of those who identify as Black and honor the lived experiences and social identities of said persons. Additionally, this collection has been curated to support expanding institutional conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion to intersectionality, justice, and the implementation of anti-oppressive frameworks as tools to transform systems and institutions.
A special thank you to Bonyi Bofor Akosua Kalesa Queen Mother Shemariah J. Arki, EdD, assistant professor and director of the Center for Pan African Culture at Kent State University for her editorial contributions.
Eddie Moore Jr., PhD
Co-Founder, Understanding and Dismantling Privilege Journal
Founder/President, The Privilege Institute