What are the Guiding Principles of the Movement?

Below is a slightly modified version of the guiding principles adapted from Movement for Black Lives Convening August 24-26, 2015. #2 was added by Black Lives Matter DC in order to contextualize the principles for non-Black people working in solidarity for the movement.


We uplift and are forever grateful for the very real and deep labor of Trans Women of Color that has been, and continues to be unacceptably erased from the creation of these principles and too often from every part of every iteration of the Black Liberation Movement and all movements in this country, and around the world.

Our Values

  1. ALL Black Lives Matter: Queer Black Lives, Trans* Black Lives, Formerly Incarcerated Black Lives, Poor/Working Class Black Lives, Differently abled Black Lives, Black Women’s Lives, Immigrant Black Lives, Black Elderly and Children’s Lives. ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER and are creators of this space. We throw no one under the bus. We Rise Together.

  2. All of our work is part of a larger movement for collective liberation. The movement for collective liberation is a movement for liberation of every human being on the planet from each and every system of thought, belief or action that oppresses them. This means that none of us are free until all of us are free. This also means that the heart of this struggle is those who experience multiple forms of simultaneous oppression. Furthermore, this requires that all allies see their Black liberation work as part of their work towards their own liberation. Women’s Liberation, the overthrowing of capitalism, Asian Liberation, Queer Liberation, Trans*Liberation, Indigenous Liberation, the end of colonialism etc are all connected, vital, and must work together.   

  3. Thriving Instead of Surviving: Our vision is based on the world we want, not the one we are currently in. We seek to transform, not simply react. We want our people to thrive, not just exist. Think beyond the possible.

  4. Experimentation and innovation must be built into our work. Embrace the best tools, practices and tactics and leave those behind that no longer serve us.

  5. Evaluation and assessment must be built into our culture. Critical reflection must be part of all our work. We learn from our mistakes and our victories. 

  6. Principled Struggle can exist in a positive environment. We must be honest with one another by embracing direct, loving communication.

  7. Love/Self Love is practiced in every element of all we do. Love and Self-Love must be a driver of our work and an indicator of our success. Without this principle and without healing, we will harm each other and undermine our movement.

  8. 360 degree vision: We honor past struggles and wisdom from elders. The work we do today builds the foundations of movements of tomorrow. We consider our mark on future generations.

  9. Self-care means we build resilient spaces by budgeting time, energy, and resources for healing. Self-care is a regular, consistent, intentional, and essential practice. 

  10. The most Directly Affected People are experts at their own lives and should be in leadership, at the center of our movement, and telling their stories directly.

  11. Training and Leadership Development should be fundamental. Our movement must constantly grow and leadership must constantly multiply.