What is Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter is an international social movement formed in the United States in 2013 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin‘s murderer, George Zimmerman. The mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and domestic terrorists, especially in the form of police brutality.

But don't ALL lives matter?

The simple answer is this: All lives cannot matter until black lives do. Black lives mattering does not suggest that black lives are more important than all other lives. Instead, it’s pointing out that black people’s lives are extremely undervalued in the US and are constantly jeopardized by systemic racism.

Even the founding fathers never meant ‘All‘. The phrase “All me are created equal” actually meant “All white men are created equal”. At the time of it’s conception, Black men were only considered three-fifths of a man, and women were left out completely.

Nobody is saying black lives matter more, they’re just saying black lives matter, too. The phrase ‘All Lives Matter‘ was created as a direct push-back against the Black Lives Matter movement and is far from being an innocent term celebrating the worthiness of all humanity. It implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they are not. According to professor of critical race theory, David Theo Goldberg, “All Lives Matter” reflects a view of “racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial“.

Talking about racism makes me uncomfortable.

What you’re feeing is what minorities have felt for a long time, and the only way to rid everyone of it is to acknowledge racism and who perpetuates it.

Remember, white privilege does not mean your life is not hard. It means that your race is not one of the things that makes it hard.

Discomfort should not mean silence. Looking away won’t change the real-life consequences that others experience. So the next time you feel uncomfortable and would rather look away, ask yourself: Why is your discomfort more important than the very real wounds that are being inflicted on others?” -Nam Kiwanuka

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Cops can't all be bad, right?

American police were formed from slave patrols in the 1700’s designed to empower the white population. Their duty was to hunt and capture runaway African-Americans that tried to escape slavery. The slaves were met with extreme violence and the justification for this abuse was that black lives do not matter.

Police supporters often use the saying ‘a few bad apples‘ when referring to the widespread police brutality amongst people of color (POC), as if the problem is small and only involves a few bad cops. The truth is, all police officers enforce a racist and broken system which makes them inherently bad. They stand behind a ‘blue wall of silence‘, a term used to describe the informal code of silence amongst police officers when it comes to the wrongdoing of their colleagues. This makes it impossible for a ‘good cop’ to exist in a broken system.

Police shot and killed 1,026 people in the past year (2020), killing black people at more than twice the rate of white people. There were only 18 days in 2020 where police did not kill someone. On top of all this, their behavior during peaceful protests continues to show their lack of regard for human life even when being filmed. Nearly 1,000 instances of police brutality were recorded in the US anti-racism protests last summer (2020). This number stands as a reflection of the very real problem minorities are facing in their daily fight for equality.

So what can I do to help?

Stay informed. Research topics like the racial wealth gap, housing inequality, social and environmental justice, modernized slavery, police abolition, voter restriction laws, discrimination in the legal justice system, and more to better understand what people of color endure and how you can help.

► A great starting point is watching the Netflix documentary ’13TH’ for free on Youtube. This discusses the US prison system and how racial inequality drives incarceration to #1 in the world. Click here to watch for free. 

Buy Black. Move your purchases to Black owned businesses. The best way is to start in your community, then search for small businesses on Etsy and other Black owned directories.

Challenge Racism. If you see an act of racism, intervene as a show of allyship and solidarity. Your actions can literally save a life. Take time to clean up your friends list and break ties with people who refuse to accept people of color. You have power to make meaningful change.

Donate regularly. Donations offer some of the biggest support in helping victim’s families, bail out protesters who have been arrested wrongfully and provide aid to the underprivileged. I urge you to search for grassroots organizations in your city that are working toward equity and equality. Here are some US Organizations that you can fund now to show support and help the fight against racism:

National Bail Fund Network || National Police Accountability Project || A Second U Foundation || Black Visions Collective || The Bail Project || Campaign Zero || Nix The 6 || Color Of Change || The Loveland Foundation || Southern Poverty Law Center

Follow and support these pages on Instagram:

If you would like me to add your organization to this list, please reach out and I will give it my time and consideration. Thank you.

This page is written from the perspective of a person of color who has experienced racism in the military, from police, the legal justice system, teachers, peers, and total strangers. But it shouldn’t take all that to stand up against what is wrong. I was the victim of racially charged police brutality multiple times from white police officers. I now use my voice and platform to stand up against racist oppression and fight for human rights for all. With love and for love. – Damien