The Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s International Prize for Peace was awarded to the Black Lives Matter movement. The prize recognises “the vital contributions of leading global peacemakers, creates a platform so that their voices are heard, and supports their vital work for a fairer world.”

The Black Lives Matter movement was birthed through a love letter written by Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the movement. The letter was written in 2012 following the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. In a Facebook post she wrote “Love Letter to Black Folks”: “We don’t deserve to be killed with impunity. We need to love ourselves and fight for a world where black lives matter. Black people, I love you. I love us. We matter. Our lives matter.”

The Sydney Peace Prize awarded the movement “for building a powerful movement of racial equality, courageously reigniting a global conversation around state violence and racism. And for harnessing the potential of new platforms and power of people to inspire a bold movement for change at a time when peace is threatened by growing inequality and injustice.”

Read: A reflection on African ‘apathy’ and #Blacklivesmatter

The BLM movement has Patrisse Cullors as part of the founders. Cullors created the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter while fellow co-founder Opal Tometi created the website and social media platforms. The hashtag has since gone viral and served as a rallying call.

Co-founder of the movement Tometi said in reaction to being awarded the Sydney Peace Prize “ [it] is an affirmation and reminds us that we are on a righteous path. Accepting this award is about our people on the ground striving for justice every single day. It’s truly meaningful to be recognized in this way.  We’ll continue to push forward until structural racism is dismantled and every Black life matters. It’s our duty in times like this to keep our eyes steadfast on the freedom we deserve.” The Sydney Peace Foundation celebrates that peace is possible and awards a cash prize of $50,000 to the recipient.

Read: #BlackLivesMatter and the role of Africa

Racial tensions in the US have been on the increase with pro-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rallies taking place. The current US president Donald Trump hasn’t been helping matters either with his divisive remarks across racial lines. Race has been said to be the biggest problem of the US.