When we think about the Black Lives Matter movement, it evokes so many different feelings that vary from person to person. It doesn’t matter who we are, everyone feels something based on their past experiences, beliefs and unidentified biases to those simple yet breathtakingly raw and powerful words.
As a White woman that has been beyond privileged in my life, I do not know what it is like to feel visceral desperation to be treated equally. I know nothing of what it is like to walk down the street and have others cross over to not walk near me due to fear. I know nothing of being called a racial slur. I know nothing of deep, raw anxiety when stopped by a police officer. I know nothing. And so I listen.
I hear the sobbing, I hear, feel and taste the palpable energy of so many people ready for change. Some may say that All Lives Matter, and indeed that is true, but to me those words seem so plainly obvious. Clearly all lives matter, or so I would assume since we all have a beating heart and mind to change this world for the good. That said, the gut wrenching truth is that not everyone in this Country feels that all lives matter. In fact, hundreds (if not thousands) of people don’t think that Black lives matter at all. That is the problem.
To me, trying to interchange saying All Lives Matter for Black Lives Matter is a cop-out. An easy way to feel like you are being inclusive because if you say that all lives matter then you should be perceived as holding no racism in your heart and that you are fighting for a more inclusive world as a whole. I get it. But I believe we still aren’t listening.
The problem is, African American men and women have continuously been treated as if their lives don’t matter. For years and years and YEARS the slavery, oppression, disadvanages, biases, hate, and hurt have destroyed and ravaged lives. Black men and women have been murdered, belittled and had scars etched within their souls. It is because of this that I believe it is blatantly hurtful to disregard this movement and the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ as if all of the devastating actions, words and hate don’t have long lasting, desperately hurtful effects.
Black Lives Matter.
Saying that you won’t stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement because All Lives Matter feels to me like we STILL aren’t listening. That we refuse to stand tall with our heads held high and firmly committed to yelling from the rooftops that Black Lives Do Matter. That Black lives are just as important as every other human heart. That as a Country and individually we have continuously failed. For years and years we fell astonishingly short at creating a space for all to be equal. We do not and have not treated others as if All Lives Matter. We hurt Black men and women, sometimes outright and sometimes inadvertently, but the same nonetheless. Over and Over. Every. Single. Day. And we are still doing it.
Now is the time for it to stop.
It seems to me that we still seem to have an inability to firmly acknowledge that all this hate and hurt happened, that it is STILL happening, and that we are so, so sorry for our actions. Whether those actions were by our own hands or not.
The fact is, in this country there are thousands of people that still don’t believe that all lives matter. They don’t believe that Black lives matter at all. It is deafeningly and soul crushingly true. Systemic oppression exists and is historically mind blowing in it’s effects after years and years of pain. Thousands of people have been taught from an early age that people that look differently than themselves are not the same and should not be treated equally. Since this fact still exists, I believe that it is absolutely necessary to scream, cry and act for the Black Lives Matter movement, and not turn our heads on these devastating facts or try to replace these powerful words with those of All Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter.
We hear you, we see you and we stand 100% behind each and every person in the fight towards treating Black men and women the same. We are on our knees with regret for the past and firmly planted in our stance that it will end. It ends now.
In America It is time to stand up and fight for those that have and continue to be hurt because of the color of their skin. It is time to listen. Listen to how we can grow, what we can do differently, and how our actions, whether by our own hands or those before us, have done to the African American community. Listen with a soft heart and open mind, because it is in these moments that we can make great strides towards an equal world.
If we are brave enough to listen.