Stopping the violence matters. It’s what Black people have been saying for decades. It’s the message of Black Lives Matter: “Stop the police violence against Blacks. Stop killing us.”
Over the last few years, Black Lives Matter organizers and followers of all races who believe in equality and the humanity of all people turned out en mass in peaceful protest. By speaking out and demonstrating, they were labeled as divisive and instigators.
Some took it that “Black Lives Matter” meant “other” lives didn’t. Wrong. The statement is an affirmation: “Our lives are not throw-away lives. They mean something in this world. Too often our lives are deemed expendable.”
It was not a case of Black lives matter –- to declare others don’t matter, don’t mean anything. Or that Black lives are more than others. The emphasis is on the “matter.” Black lives matter, (too).
In the past two weeks, a couple of deranged Black individuals have taken it upon themselves to exact revenge upon police. Now the general public, police chiefs, local government officials, even governors and presidential candidates are saying, “Stop the violence.”
Stopping the violence matters for everyone –- every person, Black, White, or Blue. Every ethnicity, every culture, every age, every neighborhood. Each citizen wants to feel safe and to be safe. Each person wants to live, to belong, to be productive, to be free, and to have power over their own lives. Each yearns to be unafraid and to contribute to their communities. That includes Black people.
Everyone wants the violence to stop. And, everyone must take steps to ensure an end to the violence that has threatened, horrified, and killed far too many people.
When do we start taking care of what matters? It has to be now. It has to be before even more lives are snuffed out in rage and frustration or in misguided demonstrations of power. It has to be now to ensure our young people have a chance to grow up and all of us can live without fear, knowing WE matter.
~ xoA ~