BLM marks 10-year anniversary calling for July 13 to be 'Black Lives Matter Day,' renew push to defund police

The BLM movement started in 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin

The Black Lives Matter movement is marking its 10-year anniversary on Thursday by asking local and national elected officials to establish July 13 as "Black Lives Matter Day."

The proclamation is part of a new campaign launched this week called "Defund the Police Week of Action," which includes activists and organizations hosting various virtual and in-person events as the movement renews its push to defund police departments across the country.

"As we continue our push to defund the police, invest in Black communities and reimagine safety in our communities, we need our elected officials to focus on the people, not police," BLM foundation board member D’Zhane Parker told The Associated Press.

Parker added, "The safest places around the world don’t have more police, more jails, more prisons, or harsher sentences. They have better access to economic opportunities, quality education, stable housing, and health care."


blm marks 10 year anniversary calling for july 13 to be black lives matter day renew push to defund police

A protester picks up signs during a demonstration in Beverly Hills, California, July 17, 2013, in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The movement first emerged in 2013, after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin the year before. Its goals are to counter police brutality and the unfair treatment of Black people within the criminal justice system, the foundation said.

On Monday, BLM organizers released a digital ad renewing rallying cries for defunding police departments across the country.

Various BLM chapters in major cities are also planning events.


In Los Angeles on Saturday, the "#BLMTurns10 People’s Justice Festival" will be held in Leimert Park. The park is a cultural hub for Black residents. The festival will include a pop-up garden dedicated to families of people killed by police and other victims of race-related violence.

blm marks 10 year anniversary calling for july 13 to be black lives matter day renew push to defund police

Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton, second from left, and Tracy Martin, stand in court as the jury leaves the courtroom to deliberate during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole County, Florida, circuit court, July 12, 2013, in Sanford, Florida. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Festival organizers have invited Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, as well as scholar and activist Dr. Cornel West, who is running for U.S. president as a third-party candidate in 2024, to speak and to give the festival's keynote address, respectively.

The anniversary comes as the Supreme Court decided President Biden’s student loan handout was illegal and banned affirmative action in higher education.

Melina Abdullah, one of the movement’s activists, said the high court’s decisions show the work of BLM is not done.


"What this movement moment means is that we have to absolutely redouble our efforts and redouble our commitment to making Black lives matter," said Abdullah, a director of BLM Grassroots Inc, a collective of organizers across the country. "Ten years in, we’re getting a glimpse at what would happen if there were no Black Lives Matter."

Abdullah added, "We’re not just going to fight when it’s popular, but we’re going to fight because we need to fight."

Ten years ago, Zimmerman, who is White and Hispanic, was acquitted of murdering Martin in a Florida courtroom and the verdict reverberated throughout Florida and across the U.S., prompting protests, marches and the formation of BLM chapters.

blm marks 10 year anniversary calling for july 13 to be black lives matter day renew push to defund police

The Black Lives Matter movement hits a milestone on Thursday, July 13, 2023, marking 10 years since its 2013 founding in response to the acquittal of the man who fatally shot Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Julie Fletcher)

Zimmerman claimed to authorities that he shot Martin in self-defense after he suspected the Black teen was a burglar walking through his gated community in Sanford, Florida.

On July 13, 2013, a Florida jury of six women found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

BLM grew in the years following as additional cases of police brutality or race-based violence surfaced on social media and co-founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Ayo Tometi helped spur the movement’s growth in August 2014, following the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Black Lives Matter" swiftly became a rallying cry for supporters.

In 2020, the movement garnered an unprecedented wave of support and donations following the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Authored by Lawrence Richard via FoxNews July 13th 2023