Black Lives Do Matter

Black Lives Do Matter July 12, 2016
(c) john c o'keefe, use as you desire
(c) john c o’keefe, use as you desire

Seems silly to say, but Black lives do matter. Unlike many, when I hear the term ‘Black Lives Matter’ I don’t hear ‘No Other Lives Matter.’ I hear the pains of those who have been oppressed, those who have been marginalized, those who have been ignored, those who have been abused for centuries. I hear the cries of people demanding to be treated with human dignity. What do you hear?

I find, like most, I’m torn between two places: on the one side of the tear, I don’t understand how systems have been created to marginalize people. You see, I was born into a system that sees me as ‘the norm’white, heterosexual, and male – When I think about it seem weird – why does any person have to shout out to be treated with human dignity? I don’t. For many years I lived under the impression that living with dignity was the right each of us are born with, and that there was nothing wrong with the systems we lived under; after all, they worked for me. It took me years to realize that being treated with dignity was not a given; many are not. So, what does that mean? At best, all I can do is hear their voices, realize I have the power to change, and seek to be the change.

On the other side of the tear I know that I have the ability to call out systems that are inherently marginalizing other peoples; to do so, I must be a voice of support, not a voice to control. I had to learn to listen, not to the system [those benefiting from the system always see the system as good], but to those who are being harmed by the systems – the institutional racism that flows though the veins to keep the system alive. I need to stand with, not seek to be a leader, hearing the voices of those who are marginalized. I need to be honest with myself and realize that those who share how the system is marginalizing them, are not making it a personal attack against me, but on the systems that cause them pain.

To do that, we all need a change of heart – we need to live the expression of Christ and seek out a new heart, a new spirit, a new soul, that seeks to call into question systems, institutions, designed to control and set all people free – and for centuries, Blacks have been the target of this pain – so, to say “Black Lives Matter” is not speaking against others, it is saying – let’s start somewhere, and this is a good place to start.


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