The Abolitionist Aesthetics of Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter

“Imagine if culturally we understood that protecting Black women meant protecting all of us,” said Patrisse Cullors, renowned for her activist work with Black Lives Matter, a global network she co-founded in 2013 with Alicia Garza and Ayo Tometi. “I think that’s what this show means to me.”

The show referenced here, “dedicated to all Black women and femmes around the world,” is the exhibit Between the Warp and Weft: Weaving Shields of Strength and Spirituality—an introduction to Cullors as an artist wielding her protection spell over Black women. The exhibit opens Saturday, June 15, at the Charlie James Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

The Women of Black Lives Matter

From the Winter 2015 issue of Ms.: Patrisse Cullors, along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and organized the Black Lives Matter campaign after the 2012 killing of the unarmed young Floridian Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed vigilante.

“Movement and change take a significant amount of time,” said Cullors. “We are in a state of emergency, [but] things take decades, centuries to change. To unearth those systems––racism, patriarchy, transphobia––takes consistency and perseverance.” 

(For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION, Alfred A. Knopf—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.)

Black Women Caught in the Digital Crosshairs

Black women are often in the crosshairs of abusive discourse driven by social media. That recent targets are often public figures suggests that social media abusers find it profitable to attack high-profile Black women who have become symbolic avatars for the group as a whole.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

The Twin Demons of Maternal Mortality and Femicide

Black women in the U.S. face a unique double-bind when it comes to maternal mortality and femicide.

Black maternal health isn’t just about perinatal care; it intersects with racial and reproductive justice, and it’s part of the nexus of gun violence and domestic violence. Focusing on this intersection should drive overwhelming support from both reproductive and racial justice communities working toward solutions. 

War on Women Report: Anti-Abortion Activists Desperate to Keep Abortion Off 2024 Ballot; NAIA Bars Trans Women From Competing

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: Missouri anti-abortion activists try to trick voters out of supporting a ballot measure to protect abortion rights; 70 percent of school shooters committed violence against women before or during their attacks; Connecticut may join Maine, Texas, California and New York in adopting coerced debt protections; Fox News spent only 12 minutes covering a ruling from the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court reviving a 160-year-old state law that bans abortion; and more.

Would the O.J. Simpson Trial Be Different Today?

At the time of the original O.J. Simpson trial, many feminists were horrified that a woman who was stalked, beaten and raped by one man, and who asked for help many times, was then brutally murdered—and that in the trial, she should have gotten her justice, but it was instead turned into a carnival in which Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman were mere sideshows.

Many of the dynamics at play in the Simpson trial have not changed as much as one would hope—including deep racism in policing and criminal justice, a resulting deep skepticism that the system is fair, and a related impulse to filter facts and information through the lens of identity first and reality second.