*** BLACK LIVES MATTER *** June 11 2020, 0 Comments

There’s more to say. So much more. And even more to hear.

I’m proud to say that I have strong, clear opinions and I’m definitely not one to shy away from charged conversations or heated debates.
In person.
But when it comes to social media, I have preferred to keep it… well, social.

On those platforms, I try to respect everyone’s opinions and steer clear of hot topics to keep things... social.

This is different.

I’m embarrassed to admit that, even though it always hurt my heart to hear of yet another innocent black man/woman/child being murdered, I had become a bit numb to the news. It just happens SO often.

Watching George Floyd’s murder didn’t just hurt my heart; it tore it to pieces. Those images illustrated so appallingly the fact that our system, here in the United States of America, the land of the free, doesn’t value black lives. The calm and confidence with which Derrick Chauvin just took George Floyd’s life made it crystal clear to me that black lives DON’T matter to this system. Never have.

And yet, so many people out there are still uncomfortable, unable or unwilling to say Black Lives Matter; my social media feed is full of those people. That’s just astounding to me.
Some really good, really kind people too. As though they were being asked to choose between black lives and all others, to pick a side.

It’s all too easy to look at the horrors of a distant past and say “I totally would have gotten involved if I had lived in Germany during the holocaust.” But would you? When so many of you won’t even so much as click “like” on a post about racism for fear of taking a stance on a hot topic, preferring to remain neutral and comfortable. A simple click of the finger. Even that’s too much involvement…

My whole adult life, I have taken comfort in the fact that I didn’t contribute to racism (at least not consciously). It’s no longer enough to “not be part of the problem”. I want to be involved in the solution. In all the little ways I can (and there are many).

I’m not proud to say that I too felt a little uncomfortable when I heard “Black Lives Matter” for the first time. It just didn’t make sense to me. It was so obvious. And inevitably my next thought was “well of course, because ALL lives matter”.

I didn’t know.

I didn’t know about Tulsa, about Rosewood or about the poll taxes (yeah, look them up). Just to name a few things I learned in the last few weeks.

I’m ashamed to say I have even wondered why many black people seemed so angry. After all, slavery was abolished a LONG time ago. I have many black friends who are happy and successful. We even had a black president for 8 years!

I just. Didn’t. Know.

There’s so much more to learn. And I will stay the course.

I just don’t understand why it’s so difficult for some people to stand with Black Lives Matter. I’ve seen many rationalize their stance with “What about all the other violence happening in the world? What about all the other people who are oppressed?”

To that I say, REALLY???

I remember the ice bucket challenge a few years ago that flooded social media for months to bring awareness to ALS and raise money for research toward a cure. I never saw one SINGLE person say “Well, what about cancer? That’s a terrible illness too? And heart disease? It’s the #1 killer in the world.” That would have been pretty darn insensitive, right?

So what’s different here…?

Focusing on one problem doesn’t mean we are forgetting about all the others.
And iIt’s not “black people’s” problem. It’s everybody’s problem. It’s a human problem. Would we really expect the oppressed to “fix” their own oppression?

If you found out your child had been bullied at school for years, would you simply drop him/her off at their persecutor’s home to negotiate with them and their parents? I doubt it.

We have a little bit of momentum going right now, and if we stick together, hold hands and keep speaking out against the injustices that have gone on for far too long, I believe we can make a change.

Do you really want your children and grandchildren to grow up in a country/world where it’s ok for a representative of the LAW to kneel on a restrained man’s neck and kill him slowly, in broad daylight, in front of cameras, hand in pocket?

Think about that…