By Jamie Kirk
So this is where it gets tricky. We have not had many organized protests in weeks. We have not had a racially charged incident in the country in weeks. We have not heard the first NFL gameplay the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, before kick-off. And there have been no notable retail stores having their place of business destroyed from frustrated folks rioting. This is not to say that “stuff” is not still happening – that is categorically wrong – it’s just not getting the amount of press in the last 30 days or so. And therein lies the problem: the assumption that no “recent” incidents equal no issues. WRONG.
The reason we are in the shape we are in is because we all (the big WE) became immune to what was happening. We (the big WE) began to have negative self-doubts, like “that’s just the South” or “you can’t control what happens after you have broken the law” or “not all police officers are bad.” These conversations in our heads have been going on for too long. But one of the primary reasons is because Black Lives Matter, the #metoo movement, gender equality, Trans Lives Matter, etc., tend to fall by the wayside when there is no media coverage or perhaps a leaked videotape of an “unfortunate” incident. We (again, the big WE) have very short attention spans. In the days following an “incident,” we almost immediately voice our frustrations on social media, write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper, and perhaps have a candid conversation with our kids. But what about keeping those activities up when there is no situation to reference or use the example of the moment. The conversations and passion have to be front and center at all times.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a great example of an initiative that we can’t allow to let lose its steam. We have to continue to make our voices heard. We have to push back on folks that believe that “Black Lives Matter has no place in sports”. Or that “Black Lives Matter is divisive”. We have to continually have peaceful protests and ask for the change that we seek. Black Lives Matter cannot be the flavor of 2020. It can’t be the soapbox moment for Hollywood A-listers, just because they can’t be on set making movies right now. We have to fill back up the tank with gas and continue the emphasis and importance of the mission (for those that don’t know) that “by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering on Black joy, the outcome will be winning scenarios and improvements in ALL of our lives.” BLM needs to be a way of life, always, and in all ways.
One of the most frustrating components of the BLM movement is that phase 2.0 is being filled with distractions. WE are allowing divisive language to muddy the waters of what is unequivocally “bad behavior.” Asking the Dukes of Hazard Car to paint over the Confederate flag, painting BLM in front of Trump Tower in NYC, defining or trying to explain “white privilege,” focusing on what defund the police actually means, straight actors not taking on an LGBTQ role, trying to understand why a person would not want to wear a mask, or seeking to understand how an 8-year-girl could be innocently shot in the streets of Atlanta, are all essential conversations that support equality. Still, they should not interfere with the BLM movement. We have to incorporate these tenets into the movement. We have to incorporate these conversations as supportive instances as to why the movement cannot cease. Until WE understand without question, and more importantly, without hesitation, that unless we learn from our racist, bigoted, and judgmental history, that history is sure to continue repeating itself.
Black Lives DO matter. But we have to continue the conversations and the peaceful actions to ensure this critical component of our freedom and our society does not wither away like when you don’t water a plant. We owe it to each other to keep watering the plant. Honestly, the debate that ALL lives matter is stupid. We all know that, especially if you are Christian or you were not raised in a barn. Folks that refuse to say Black Lives Matter or have the need to question why “they” feel the need to make everything about race are simply missing the point, that Black Lives Matter for the same exact reason that everyone’s life matters; yet we are compiled to affirm that Black lives matter precisely because institutions, our justice systems, everyday business practices, our judicial system, and societal behaviors have so long denied it.
We have to keep going. We have to keep up the fight for social justice. We have to band together and allow our voices to be heard, even if not loud. Heard by the voiceless. Heard by our actions. Heard by our friends and family. Heard by the faint at heart. Heard by interracial couples. Heard by biracial children. Heard by CEOs. Heard by Human Resources Departments. Heard by Police Chiefs. Heard my Mayors. Heard my Governors. And yes, heard by our POTUS. We owe it to each other.
“If one of us suffers, every part suffers with it. if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
– 1 Corinthians;26.
Let’s all rejoice together. Now is still the time.