To have two men shot and killed by police officers in just two days took a toll on my soul. One because I’m a proud black woman who loves her people and her history, the good and bad. Then two because I’m a mother of two young men and that could have easily been one or both of my sons or any other man in my family. To some these stories are just breaking news for the day or week, but to others it’s a sad reality of the racism and dehumanizing attitudes some people have towards black people.
With these tragedies also comes conversations and debates about race in the United States. One of the biggest debates today is about The Black Lives Matter Movement. A movement that started to support the families and love ones of victims who were killed by law enforcement. The movement started with a simple but meaningful hashtag #blacklivesmatter. Now we have people who feel like the movement is singleing out other races and has been compared to the KKK. Other people feel as though it is causing division between law enforcement and civilians. There’s also the black lives won’t matter until they matter to themselves argument.
Here are my thoughts…
Yes BLACK LIVES MATTER! It doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. Nor is it a tool to use against law enforcement. It also does not take away from the fact that we as a people need to stop killing each other. Especially in Chicago. What it means is it is time to start treating us with the same compassion, humility, and respect that other races and nationalities in this country receive. To even respond to Black Lives Matter by saying All Lives Matter is a smack in the face and proof that black people are seen as less than. There wouldn’t even be a black lives matter movement if more action was taken against law enforcement for killing unarmed black people or having black people die while in police custody. A traffic stop should not become a matter of life or death.
For me Black Lives Matter isn’t just about the unjust shootings of black men by law enforcement.As long as there is systematic racism there will always be a need for movements such as Black Lives Matter. When it comes to issues of employment, education, healthcare, housing, and the judicial system Black Lives Matter. I live on the South Side of Chicago and some of the neighborhoods look like ghost towns. Schools are closing due to low funding, houses are being foreclosed, young men are spending most of their adult lives in prison for petty crimes with no promise of support upon release. Businesses are moving out of the community so people can’t find jobs. Going to a good doctor is almost impossible because of the lack of insurance and heathlcare care facilties in the community. This is not just in Chicago either. Black Lives Matters in this country because we have a right to good education, affordable housing in progressive neighborhoods, and employment.
I’m going to leave this thought with you:
Jane Elliot asked a group of white people would they like to be treated how black people are treated in thid society and the room said no.
If other races wouldn’t want to be treated how blacks are treated in this county… How exactly does ALL LIVES MATTER?