“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” Nelson Mandela
For more than the past few weeks, I’ve found myself unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, as the stress of recent events has been more than overwhelming. From COVID-19 to the recent protesting that has been happening all over the country and, most recently, various parts of the world, it has been an exhaustive undertaking to keep what positivity I can muster on a daily basis.
From watching various persons, both of repute and of common everyday existence, suffer from foot-in-mouth disease on damn near a daily basis, to keeping up with near-daily occurrences of instances where the law enforcement community just simply doesn’t get it, I don’t know if I personally can stomach things and still try to be productive in the manner that is necessary to keep my sanity intact.
And yet, that is exactly what I expect of myself. Which means I will do it because I want to do it.
There is no logical justification for anyone to only say the words ALL LIVES MATTER. Period. FULL STOP.
To utter those words is to be willfully ignorant to the crimes that have happened, have ALWAYS happened, and are still happening, even as protests continue to persist throughout the country. Even as I write this, I find out that, last month, a young African man lost his life in New Jersey for no reason whatsoever. He actually called the police for vehicle assistance, and still ended up dead. HOW. DOES. THAT. HAPPEN?
It has been said time and time again, and it bears repeating until they get tired of hearing it: ALL lives cannot matter until BLACK lives matter.
Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying, “Justice cannot be served until the unaffected are as outraged as the affected.” This has been the impetus, time and time again, of what the BIPOC community has been shouting as a collective for more than a few generations, much to those who chose not to listen. Whether they simply didn’t want to or were afraid to, that no longer matters at this particular point in human history.
Things need to be fixed. The system has been broken for a while now, and no number of bandages will remedy the breaks.
There is hope on the horizon. We have seen a multicultural and multigenerational response unlike any we have seen in the past. It has been beautiful to watch, beautiful to engage with and be a part of, and absolutely fun to bear witness. History will mark this time period as a turning point in American history where the fundamental shift has occurred. I am claiming it; I feel it with every fiber of my being that this time, we might be on the path to actually getting it right.
Oh, and to paraphrase James Baldwin, I will continue to criticize my country, and the fact that I am doing so does not mean that I don’t love my country. In fact, it is that love of country and the hope that we have that it can still reach its aspirations that will have us continue to work to make it better. Having the US devolve into a shell of its former self is NOT the goal, and anyone who insists on trying will have to be met with a proper rebuttal. And if that rebuttal has to be aggressive, then so be it. Sometimes, you have to speak the language of your adversary in order to get your point across.
Finally, in case you need a reminder of where I stand on the issues at hand, let me make sure I’m clear before I end this missive at such an ungodly hour when I’m supposed to be sleeping and preparing for the next day:
BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.
BLACK. LGBTQ. LIVES. MATTER.
LATINX. LIVES. MATTER.
And until those who scream ALL LIVES MATTER put some energy into ensuring that ALL LIVES MATTER on a consistent basis, STOP SAYING IT! You obviously don’t mean it.
Happy Monday, and I think I can sleep for a few hours knowing I've gotten a few things off my chest.