Building the New World

Black Lives Matter’s Patrisse Cullors on her personal sacrifices for activism and motherhood

As one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter, I’ve always given up parts of myself for this movement. For the past 15 years, the work has been my primary partner, often at the sacrifice of my emotional, physical, and spiritual safety. I have been challenged by hateful verbal attacks, the consistent killings of black children, and the never-ending feeling that there is always more work to be done. I’ve compromised my health, and sometimes my morals, for the ultimate goal of manifesting black liberation. We have a chant that we use at protests, before meetings, and when speaking to large audiences—one that was gifted to us by our revolutionary sister Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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