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Redwood Bark

Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Molly Gallagher April 18, 2024

On Wednesday, April 17, the boys’ varsity tennis team dominated their match against Archie Williams in the semi-finals of the Marin County...

Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Emma Rosenberg and Penelope Trott April 18, 2024

On April 18, the girls’ varsity lacrosse team battled against the Branson Bulls in a blowout senior day matchup. Prior to the start of...

 embracing his coach senior Auden Braden celebrates his final MCAL regular season game
Boys’ volleyball dominates Marin Catholic on Senior Night
Richard Byrne April 18, 2024

On April 17th, the boys’ varsity volleyball team faced off against Marin Catholic (MC) in a Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) game. The...

Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza: Championing justice, empowering change and redefining cultural narratives


We want to see a world where Black lives matter for us — to get to a world where all of our humanity is respected,” Alicia Garza said, a Redwood alumna from the class of 1998. Garza, who is also the principal of the Black Futures Lab and a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, has spoken out about many essential topics including voting, social justice and power distribution in today’s government.

Garza began her advocacy with the University of California (UC) Student Association, a group that voices the opinions of UC students, and since then, she has worked hard to become a global change maker

Infographic by Felix Byron

, running multiple organizations while building an online following by speaking her truth. 

 While Garza is the one who coined the “Black Lives Matter” hashtag after the murder of Trayvon Martin, she does not view the movement wholly as her creation. Rather, she sees the movement as a cumulative effort of resistance against systematic racial disparities, mass incarceration, police brutality and over-criminalization towards people of color in America. The “Black Lives Matter” hashtag has appeared in 44 million tweets since the beginning of the movement in 2013, according to the Pew Research Center. 

In addition to advocating for Black Americans, Garza also supports progress concerning women’s equality, the LGBTQ+ community and American immigrants.

Garza’s work for social justice causes has been recognized for her dedication towards change with numerous awards, including the Sydney Peace Prize, the Glamour’s Women of the Year Award, the Community Change Agent at the Black Girls Rock Awards and others. 

In the past year, Garza has turned her attention toward voter education and accessibility. With her organization, Black Future Labs, she spoke to over 200,000 under-represented members of the Black community in 2023 alone. She reached out to predominantly Black communities in deep southern states previously untouched by other voter registration programs to increase voter turnout.

In addition, Garza and Black Future Labs work to create communities and change how local, state and national power operates in underserved areas.

 “[By] bringing people together to reimagine what society can look like, what government can look like, what our communities can look like, we can then work together to make [social justice] a [reality] for the betterment of all humanity,” Garza said.

Garza emphasizes the significant impact government policies have on the lives of Americans and explains that their power lies in establishing rules and changing them. 

“Power can be corrupt, but it doesn’t have to be. Each of us can make an impact on how power operates,” Garza said. 

In 2014, to protest police accountability, Garza chained herself to the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train. She used her power to make a statement and promote action following the court case where a police officer, Darren Wilson, was acquitted after shooting and killing an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.

Garza empowers people worldwide to speak out against racial injustice in Black communities and to promote change. She explains that this change starts with the people, but is enforced by laws and regulations that shape our country. Garza highlights the importance of participating in the democratic process through electing representative legislators. Deciding who to vote for can be challenging, especially if neither candidate completely aligns with an individual’s values. She emphasizes the importance of selecting the candidate that has the greatest potential to create changes that align with your views.

Garza argues that you don’t need to be an activist to create change, instead voting can be one of the most impactful actions in fighting social injustices. The candidates don’t have to match your ideals completely, but rather vote for what is in your best interest.

Garza also challenges traditional ideas regarding culture and race, commenting on how neither white people nor Black people have a culture, which is an alternative view that presents the idea of Black and white cultures as social constructs invented by white oppressors.

“Whiteness is not a culture. Whiteness is a category that was designed to set people apart from others and give them a rationale. All types of cultures were clumped into whiteness: Irish people, French, English, Scottish and Germans. Black is not a culture; it’s a diaspora that was then used to describe why some people belonged and some didn’t,” Garza said. 

By challenging traditional notions of Black culture, Garza redefines the connection between culture and race. The statement, “There isn’t Black culture,” reflects how society views Black people with a different lens in comparison to white people and sets them into a different group based on skin color.

Garza explains that white culture is seen as the more “normal” culture in America and therefore does not require a sub-category that defines it. In contrast, “Black culture” has been established to characterize Black Americans as something different and an embodiment of their own separate culture.

 Garza emphasizes that these notions were fabricated to divide people based on “their hue” of skin color and that terms such as “black,” “white” and “brown” do not accurately describe any one culture. Although the gap looks impossible to close, Garza recognizes that society has to start somewhere.

“One of my mentors used to say to me, that change is not just about the place where we’re trying to go,” Garza said. “Change is also about charting the path from where we are.”

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Annie Burlingame
Annie Burlingame, Reporter
Annie Burlingame is a Junior at Redwood High School in the Advanced Journalism, Arts and Media Class. She enjoys bonding with her family and friends as well as volunteering in the community.
Finn Nelson
Finn Nelson is a Junior at Redwood High School and is a writer for the Advanced Journalism Arts & Media Program. He enjoys playing soccer, listening to Jack Johnson and cooking and baking with friends and family.
Aurora Sreba
Aurora Sreba is a junior at Redwood High School and is a reporter in the Advanced Journalism Arts & Media program. She enjoys spending time in nature, traveling and taking photos.    
Lynette Ki
Lynette Ki is a junior at Redwood High School and is a reporter in the Advanced Journalism Arts & Media program. She loves taking photos, traveling and trying new foods. 
Hailey Carlton
Hailey Carlton, Reporter
Hailey Carlton is a Junior at Redwood High School. She is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism & Media program. In her free times she enjoys playing softball, going to Giants games and volunteering in her community.
Tessa Marshall
Tessa Marshall, Reporter
Tessa Marshall is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism and Media program . She enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with her friends.
Grace Gehrman
Grace Gehrman, Senior Staff Writer
Grace Gehrman is a current junior and senior staff writer for the Bark. In her free time she loves to write poetry, dance, listen to Dolly Parton and run away from dogs.
Anya Ghazi, Copy Editor
Anya Ghazi is a junior at Redwood High School and is a Copy Editor for the Arts and Media Program. She enjoys playing volleyball and hanging out with her friends.
Charlotte Martin
Charlotte Martin, Cub Editor in Chief
Charlotte Martin is a sophomore at Redwo0d High School and a Cub Editor in Chief. She enjoys her free time by making art, listening to music and spending times with friends.
Evelyn Given
Evelyn Given is a Junior reporter for Advanced Journalism. Evelyn enjoys music, going to concerts and music festivals, watching the sunset, and going to the beach.
Evelyn Spiegel
Evelyn Spiegel, AJAM Reporter
Evelyn Spiegel is a Junior at Redwood high school and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism and Media Program. She enjoys playing soccer and spending time with friends.
Olivia Erickson
Olivia Erickson, Cub Reporter
Olivia Erickson is currently a cub reporter for the Redwood bark! She love spending time with her friends and her older sisters, she runs for the redwood cross country team, and she loves to travel!
Madison Bishop
Madison Bishop is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media program. She enjoys listening to music, dancing and spending time with loved ones.
Elsa Johnson
Elsa Johnson, Reporter
Elsa Johnson is a Junior at Redwood who reports for the Advance Journalism Arts and Media program. She enjoys hiking, going to the beach and the ski season!
Isabelle Davis
Isabelle Davis, reporter
Isabelle Davis is a Junior at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media. She enjoys running, baking and spending time with her friends.
Wyatt Levine
Wyatt Levine is a junior and Copy Editor for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media Program. He enjoys eating cuban sandwiches, skiing with his family and watching Survivor.
Skyla Thomas
Skyla Thomas, Reporter
Skyla Thomas is a junior at Redwood High School and she is part of AJAM (Advanced Journalism Arts and Media). She loves running cross country, watching sunset, and traveling to new places.
Jace Harms
Jace Harms, Editor-in-Chief
Jace Harms is a Junior at Redwood. He is an Editor in Chief for the Redwood Advanced Journalism & Media program. He loves listening to Frank Sinatra, politics and Caprese sandwiches.
Audrey Bennett
Audrey Bennett, Reporter
Audrey Bennett is a Junior at Redwood and a reporter for the Advanced Journalism and Media. Audrey enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling.