URBANA — One of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement stopped to talk with people at the University of Illinois. Opal Tometi and two other women started the hashtag on social media after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. That started a movement that’s had global effects. Tometi says it gives people the opportunity to connect with others in a different way than they could before.
“It’s not just about a hashtag and that hashtag is not a movement,” said Tometi. “Real people in the streets, engaging, be it elected officials or other folks in power, real people shifting the culture, that is the movement.”
There was standing room only at Allen Hall, where Tometi spoke. Her advice for the future is to look at root causes for social issues to try to find solutions in individual communities.