Friday, November 18, 2016

I am White, We Are Black - Part 2: Kevin Reflects on #BlackLivesMatter

When you care for someone, they matter to you – their opinions, safety, health and much more. These things aren’t just important to you, but are priorities. When someone matters to you, when you hear their cry, you rush over to tend to the need at hand and do your best to assist in preventing it from happening again. These are just a few actions that take place when someone you respect and care for matters. Sadly this hasn’t always been the case for black and brown people in America. Instead of knowing that we matter, the justice system and government has failed us in many ways to the point where we’ve had to remind them that we still bleed red and that we, too, matter.

In 2012 a young man by the name of Trayvon Martin was murder by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was later acquitted on second-degree murder. What was Martin doing, you may ask? He was walking home (while black) from the store, rushing to get back home to watch a football game with his father. The outcome of this case was one that shocked the world.

Once the world saw Zimmerman walk away a free man, social media went crazy. The hash tag #BlackLivesMatter became a popular proclamation. People all around the world came together and started marching and committing to other acts that demanded change in our justice system and chanted “Black Lives Matter”. BLM matter soon became an organization that advocates for black and brown people many places across the globe. This movement has been a vital asset for the unlawfully killed black and brown individuals that no longer have a voice. So many unlawful deaths happen daily on the streets from law enforcement and citizens, but don’t always get news coverage. BLM created a platform to speak for those who no longer have a voice and fights for justice to be had for them.

Since the growth of the BLM movement, they’ve been celebrated by some and hated by others. Some have even categorized them as a hate or terrorist group, which makes a very strong statement about how black and brown people are looked upon when they stand up for themselves in America. For some white Americans, the sight of a group of black people doing anything good or bad scares them. Some just fear and stay silent, others, in fear, actively work to jeopardize whatever it is that the group is doing.  The sight of black and brown people in America standing strong and fighting the system and demanding change has always been problematic in American history.

Since the murder of Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter has reached its peak and other times have had to defend its cause. However, if it weren’t for this organization, many black and brown people that were murdered unlawfully would have just been another unknown case. There is so much more I can say about this organization, but I believe their work speaks for itself and is honorable. As a black man, I appreciate what the BLM movement has done within the black and brown community. I’m very aware of the fact that I, too, can be a hash tag tomorrow with an unknown case. So to the Black Lives Matter Organization, I say thank you for knowing that I matter and reminding the world daily.

2 comments:

  1. As a man who has actually been a target of a BLM protest, I can say that BLM movement is based on a lot of lies & racism. It has greatly contributed to increased risk in inner city areas & led to record homicide levels in some cities. Most don't realize the extent of the damage the movement has caused to safety (that's not even touching on the damage to racial relations).

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  2. Matt, I've struggled a lot with the #BlackLivesMatter movement (this is Keith, not Kevin). With several friends in law enforcement, it has definitely been a challenge for me. I think that one of the biggest struggles with the conflict is stereotyping: assuming all law enforcement officers are bad because some are, assuming all BLM movements are racist because some are, assuming all blacks are ____ because some are. I think that these are the lies that we tell ourselves: we make one situation the pattern for every similar situation (which is not the case).

    I fully believe that injustice should not be responded to with injustice - which is what these tense times have pushed some people to do. What I can appreciate about the BLM is that it has brought attention to racism in the mainstream. It's made me evaluate my own views and participation in the story. It also has forced me to read every story, from every side, and evaluate it critically. I can't believe everything I read. I think these things are helpful.

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