Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Internationally known as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse is also the founder and a board member of Los Angeles based organization Dignity and Power Now, and the director for truth and reinvestment at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. She is also active in many other social justice organizations including Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity.
A self-described wife of Harriet Tubman, Patrisse Cullors has always been traveling on the path to freedom. Growing up with several of her loved ones experiencing incarceration and brutality at the hands of the state and coming out as queer at an early age, she has since worked tirelessly promoting law enforcement accountability across the world while focusing on addressing trauma and building on the resilience and health of the communities most affected.
When Patrisse was 16 years old, she came out as queer and moved out of her home in the Valley. She formed close connections with other young, queer, women who were dealing with the challenges of poverty and being Black and Brown in the USA.
At 22 years old, Patrisse was recognized for her work as a transformative organizer by receiving the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. A Fulbright Scholarship recipient, Patrisse received her degree in religion and philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012. That same year she curated her first performance art piece that fearlessly addressed the violence of incarceration, STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence. Touring that performance led to the formation of the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence and eventually her non-profit Dignity and Power Now, both of which have achieved several victories for the abolitionist movement, including the formation of Los Angeles’ first civilian oversight commission over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In the summer of 2013, fueled by the acquittal granted to George Zimmerman after his murder of Trayvon Martin, Patrisse co-founded a global movement with a hashtag. Black Lives Matter has since grown to an international organization with dozens of chapters and thousands of determined activists fighting anti-Black racism world-wide.
In 2014, Patrisse completed a fellowship at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership where she prepared and led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the Without Borders Conference. There she produced and directed a theatrical piece titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied.
In 2015 Patrisse was named a NAACP History Maker, a finalist for The Advocate’s Person of the Year, and was invited to the White House. Since then, she and other activists have been disrupting presidential debates, demanding the candidates address the Black state of emergency.
Patrisse will continue to create, organize, and shut it down until all Black lives matter.