Aurielle Marie Lucier is an Atlanta activist and spokesperson for the social justice organization #ItsBiggerThanYou. She first got involved in the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of Michael Brown.

What first caused Aurielle to be interested in activism?

What role did social media play in Aurielle’s organizing?

What does Aurielle mean when she says people “were ready to put their bodies on the line in the streets”?

Aurielle describes a specific approach to politics in Atlanta as “The Atlanta Way.” How does she define this term?

Why do you think certain black leaders participate in “The Atlanta Way”?

What are some of the problems with “The Atlanta Way”? How does Aurielle’s generation feel about the approach?

How does Aurielle define the term “queer”?

Watch Aurielle speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church and reflect on the following questions.


What part of Aurielle’s speech stands out most to you and why?

Do you disagree with anything she said?

In her speech, Aurielle references a famous quote by Assata Shakur that is used as a rallying cry across the country:  

“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.”

What does Assata mean we she says “we have nothing to lose but our chains”? What are the chains in your own life, and are they different than other people’s chains?

Let’s explore Atlanta’s history to understand its present day.   

Atlanta is the home of the Civil Rights Movement. To this day, many of the major politicians in Atlanta are former civil rights icons. However, many young activists are pushing back against the civil rights approach to organizing and fighting for a new form of struggle.

Aurielle, along with many other young organizers, opposes something called “respectability politics.” Use the links below to learn what respectability politics is all about.


Black Lives Matter Politics

‘Pull Up Your Pants’ Politics

Respectability Politics

The (free) Radical

Based on what you’ve read, why have civil rights leaders and other important black figures promoted respectability politics?

In “Respectability politics won’t save the lives of black Americans,” Zach Stafford writes:

We must find another way to freedom. Because being respectable doesn’t work when we can no longer count the hashtags of dead black people, keep schools open in places like Chicago that recently shut down 50 predominately black ones, or keep food on the tables of the black family in poverty whose rates maintain steady as everyone else’s declines. And in the end, all respectability does is make you ignore that target placed on your back until the day they pull the trigger and shoot.

Why does Zach say respectability politics won’t save black Americans?

Look at the following examples of respectability politics:

Pull up your pants. Calm down. Get good grades. Stop the violence. Buy a gun. Fix your hair. Go to church. Have a normal name. Speak properly. Be polite. Put your hands up. Stop loitering. Go inside. Have a good job. Smile. Apologize. Don’t shout. Try harder. Own a home (in the right neighborhood). Lose weight. Be braver. Do better. Don’t move. Seriously. Stay. The heck. Put.

Has anyone ever told you to follow some of these rules? How did they make you feel at the time, and how do you feel about them now after reading the articles?

Do you think respectability politics should be used when fighting against injustice?

In the piece about Aurielle, the author writes that some of Aurielle’s biggest battles “have been waged against older allies of color who preach respectability over radicalism. While young protestors are eager to pursue radical nonviolent action … the established generation of leaders and organizations often prefers a more socially acceptable approach.”  What is an example of a type of protest that Aurielle might support, but civil rights leaders might oppose?

Read What Do The Black Lives Matter, Fight For $15, And Marriage Equality Movements Have In Common? and reflect on the following questions.

How does the article define the concept of “intersectionality”?

Why does Aurielle think it’s important for people not to fight for just one issue, but for many issues together, like racial justice, marriage equality, and economic justice?

Why do you think the deaths of black men have received more media attention and public outrage than the deaths of black and queer women?


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