Black Lives Matter started as a hashtag after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, but now the organization is one of the largest social justice movements with more than 30 chapters throughout the United States and the world. Yet, the organization's founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometti had never released a core policy agenda — until now.
BLM and dozens of other activist and advocacy groups released a joint statement on August 1 that provides six core demands and 40 policy priorities, including giving reparations to the descendants of slaves.
The new policy also goes a bit further: BLM wants to improve the lives of all people of color.
For instance, BLM is demanding immigrants be treated justly.
BLM is also demanding better conditions for all people of color, including mental health services, quality child and elder care, jobs that offer a living wage, and livable housing.
That's not all the BLM agenda includes.
"Our grievances and solutions extend beyond the police killing of our people," Montague Simmons, executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle, said in a statement. "State violence includes failing schools that criminalize our children, dwindling earning opportunities, wars on our trans and queer family that deny them of their humanity, and so much more."
"That's why we united, with a renewed energy and purpose, to put forth a shared vision of the world we want to live in," he added.
Some of that shared vision includes ending the death penalty, creating legislation that acknowledges the effects of slavery, and getting free education for all Black people, including those who are undocumented.
Many non-Black supporters are calling on their communities to back BLM as the movement expands.
Letters For Black Lives, a crowd-sourced letter initiated by Asian-Americans, specifically to urged other Asian-Americans to support the movement.
"In fighting for their own rights, Black activists have led the movement for opportunities not just for themselves, but for us as well," the letter read in part. "Black people have been beaten, jailed, even killed fighting for many of the rights that Asian-Americans enjoy today. We owe them so much in return. We are all fighting against the same unfair system that prefers we compete against each other."
Karla Monterroso, an advocate for increasing Black and Latino representation in the technology field, helped write the letter. She translated it to Spanish, so Latino communities are included as well.
The English version references the recent police shooting-deaths of Anthony Nunez, Melissa Ventura, Pedro Villanueva and Alex Nieto.
For Latinos, "not being able to get their stories told around this leaves the Black community alone in a struggle that is really shared," Monterroso told The Associated Press.
Actor John Leguizamo recently said that the BLM movement is crucial for Latinos.
"We've gotta do everything to help our Black brothers and sisters, and also speak up for ourselves," he told [what outlet?] "Latin people are the most bullied people in this country right now. It's the minority that’s the most bullied in schools, and there's a huge amount of violence being perpetrated on our kids. And it's a tragedy and it shouldn't be happening, and it really hurts me as an American."
With this agenda, BLM is creating a vibrant community united in forging a better world for all people of color.