Black Lives Matter (to me)

Yesterday, I was Tweeting about the death of Alton Sterling, the black man wrestled to the ground and shot at point blank range by two police officers…murdering him in front of a video taping bystander.

Yesterday, I chatted with my older sister and listened to her, upset and fearful.  You see, my sister has three mixed children.  Her husband, my brother Carlos, is African American.

Yesterday, people were already on Facebook talking about how “all lives matter” and discussing the protections of police officers.

Yesterday, my sister had to delete people from her Facebook because they were speaking racist remarks…and these people KNOW my sister and her family….they are relatives and “friends”.

And then, this morning…I woke up to another killing of a black man.  Philando Castille was stopped for a broken tail light, apparently a crime punishable by death in the U.S. for black men.  He was shot and killed in front of his girlfriend and a young child who were also IN THE CAR with him.  Castille was the 136th black person killed by police this year.There have only been 188 days so far this year.

Violence against black lives seems to be a way of life in the United States. 

And the problem, as I see it, is that white people aren’t standing up and saying ENOUGH.

White people can sit and talk about how bad it is…but we don’t know.

 White people don’t fear getting pulled over and killed without a trial.  White people don’t worry about sending their white children out into the world. White people don’t have to worry that they will be killed for the things they do.  White people don’t understand what it’s like to live under the oppression that has continued to be a part of the lives of people since slavery.

We are the people who must stop the killing of our black neighbors.  We must do this because we have the power.  We must realize that our privilege gives us a great responsibility to provide voice and power to those who are marginalized.

In this case, because I am white, those who are marginalized are people of color. 

We must stop allowing the people who are supposed to “protect and serve” to see people of color as an expendable resource.  We must hold our government accountable for the acts of oppression that they allow to continue.  We must give black voices the chance to stand up and speak about things that are important to them.

We must be willing to say

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Featured Image by Blair Ryan Photography

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