Yes, Humanists Should Partner with Black Lives Matter

When I was on my Texas speaking tour in October, I got to meet Sean Omar Rivera, the leader of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He impressed the hell out of me. This tireless activist makes the case for why secular humanists should align with Black Lives Matter and similar movements.

Humanism550

I’ve spent my whole life watching a rising body count — another dead black citizen, another hashtag, another protest and another acquittal, while millions of parents worry that tomorrow’s hashtag will be their child. That is no way to live.

I am a humanist, I see and feel the fear and pain my community lives in, and I support Black Lives Matter.

Many officers choose to serve selflessly and deserve respect. However, I believe that respect must be earned, and I have witnessed too many violations to grant that reverence blindly.

I understand that police officers are only human, and I understand that they are susceptible to error and prejudice like the rest of us, but our lives are in their hands — lives they have sworn to protect and defend — and when our public servants are not held accountable for their actions, the message is clear: “Black lives don’t matter.”…

Today’s secular movement has been dominated by those with the resources to find their way beyond religion, leaving many groups of color behind. Organizations like Black Non-Believers have done a fantastic job of addressing this disparity, but it is the job of allies to follow their lead and demonstrate that the secular movement is for people of all colors and backgrounds.

Today’s secular community sees itself as an increasingly urgent part of the social justice movement. As the troubling ideologies of Donald Trump and his administration continue to reveal themselves, it becomes increasingly important for movements to work together in the fight for social justice, and the secular community must be committed to doing its part.

I could not agree more. The demand for a society that is equal and just is a core principle of humanism. If we treat that as nothing more than words on a page, they mean nothing. Those words must be put into action. We must stand up and be heard, join together with other communities, including religious ones that agree on these matters, and demand change from the government. Anything less is a betrayal of the values we claim to hold so dearly.

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