All the Times Black Lives Didn’t Matter

Black Lives Matter. 

This concept doesn’t exist solely in the United States. It isn’t just an American issue, but rather a global one. But as they say, “Tend to your own backyard because yours is the one you have to live in” so forget the finger-pointing or the need to blame the origins of systemic racism.

 Hear me when I say that Black Lives Matter but in America, they don’t.

Black Lives Matter

Black lives should have mattered when they existed only in Africa.

Black lives should have mattered when they were forced onto ships and shipped away during slave trades.

Black lives should have mattered when they were stripped on their names, identities and families, and forced into free labor and unsafe working conditions.

Black lives should have mattered when they were whipped, lynched, beaten, raped and murdered.

Black lives should have mattered when they sought freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Black lives should have mattered in Texas before Juneteenth.

Black lives should have mattered during the Civil War.

Black Lives should have mattered during Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. 

Black lives should have mattered during the passing of our 14th and 15th amendments. 

Black lives should have mattered when the Ku Klux Klan was established.  

Black lives should have mattered during the Civil Rights Movement when thousands peacefully protested with boycotts, sit-ins, demonstrations and Freedom Rides. 

Black lives should have mattered when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Black lives should have mattered for the Little Rock Nine. 

Black lives should have mattered for the Scottsboro Boys.

Black lives should have mattered when Emmitt Till was falsely accused and murdered. 

Black lives should have mattered during the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Black lives should have mattered during the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965. 

Black lives should have mattered when interracial marriage was legalized in the U.S. in 1967.

Black lives should have mattered when Malcom X, another civil rights activist, was assassinated. 

Black lives should have mattered when Barack Obama was elected as the first Black President of the United States.

Black lives should have mattered when he was re-elected for a second term.

Black lives should have mattered when Tamir Rice was killed for playing with a fake toy gun in his yard.

Black lives should have mattered when Trayvon Martin cried that he couldn’t breathe.

Black lives should have mattered when thousands of protestors first marched in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Black lives should have mattered in 2016. 

Black lives should have mattered when Ahmaud Arbery was ambushed and killed on video for the world to see.

Black lives should have mattered when Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home. 

Black lives should have mattered when footage of unprovoked police officers retaliated against peaceful demonstrators with teargas, rubber bullets, beatings and more.

Black lives should have mattered when black people shared their personal experiences of prejudice and injustice.

Black lives should have mattered, but they don’t.

Instead we hear voices of the ignorant or privileged who are so accustomed to an unequal society, they view equality as a threat to their privilege. Instead, we hear the voices of those who are guilty of such racism and refuse to address or correct it. Instead, we hear the voices of those who claim that police lives matter, as though one is born a police offer the way one is born black. Instead, we hear the voices of those who are too fearful to challenge the generational, political views of their family. Instead, we hear the voices of bigotry. We hear the voices of those who reject history as it was, and truly believe African Americans should have stayed in Africa or remained slaves until present day. 

America is battered and broken, but there is hope. I walk down streets of my white suburb and watch a handful of protestors standing guard, defending the local police station, but I watch thousands protest at my state’s capital. I notice signs in support of Donald Trump, but I also notice the signs proclaiming there is no home for hate and that black lives do matter. I notice the blue stripe on the American flags waving outside the houses in my neighborhood in purposeful solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement.

This movement didn’t dissipate after your #BlackOutTuesday Instagram post, or after your favorite celebrities stopped blowing up your social media. Police brutality continues to threaten the lives on your co-workers, neighbors, friends, acquaintances and peers. It time to become re-acquainted with the idea that America is still racist. Remain vigilant and involved. Involve yourself with the politics you have averted or ignored for so long. Educate yourself on your local and national legislators and vote.

Supporting the Black Lives Matter movement does not mean you are unpatriotic. If anything, it suggests that you care about the future of this nation and as instilled by our ancestors, we peacefully advocate for the change we hope to see in our world.

We give a sh*t, and you should, too.

As the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, “Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find a voice in a whisper.” You should be angry.

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