The Black Lives Matter movement will be awarded this year’s Sydney Peace Prize.
The award, which Australia’s Sydney University has offered since 1998, normally goes to an individual peacemaker who promotes human rights and using nonviolence as a means of combating injustice, making the University’s choice of the Black Lives Matter movement as the award recipient unprecedented.
“This movement resonates around the globe and here in Australia, where we have become inured to the high incarceration rates and deaths in custody of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Pat Dodson, the West Australian Laborer senator and the 2008 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize, said in an interview. “It’s as if their lives do not matter.”
Founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, the Black Lives Matter movement came about following the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer, Martin Zimmerman. Since then, the organization has become a global crusader against injustice, especially following the election of Donald Trump as president.
“We’re not just about hitting the streets or direct action…it’s a humanizing project,” co-founder Cullors said. “We’re trying to re-imagine humanity and bring us to a place where we can decide how we want to be in relation to each other versus criminalizing our neighbors or being punitive towards them.”
The prize will be awarded to the co-founders at a Sydney Peace Foundation dinner in November. The group will also deliver the City of Sydney peace lecture at a public ceremony.