I wrote this post on my personal Facebook page after feeling overwhelmed, yet again, from the discussions and readings pertaining to the paper I am writing for one of my grad classes. The purpose of my paper is to answer this question - Why Do Black Lives Matter? And let me just say, this class and this research- some days it cripples me. This is a tough topic, fueled by a difficult situation and terrible occurrences that have been happening in our own backyard over the past few years. But this starts way before the Black Lives Matter movement began. This goes much further back into our nation's history. For this class we started with the 1860's with the book "12 Years a Slave" then we moved on to "Slavery by Another Name" and then "The New Jim Crow". I have been researching newspaper articles and peer reviewed journals about the movement and associated issues since the Trayvon Martin case and archival sources covering the Civil Rights Movement forward. I have been eyeball deep in tragedy and injustice. It's overwhelming, especially for someone like me re: highly sensitive.
Last night, after another tough class, I was filled with thoughts and anger and despair from some of the discussions we had in class. From those feelings came this post and I just wanted to share it all with you. Because this topic is so important to me. I think it should be important to us all. We are one race, the human race and we need to start living our lives where our actions are reflective of that.
I am not editing anything I wrote...just leaving it as is, typos and all.
"I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I have alot on my mind. As you have probably seen me mention I am currently researching the Black Lives Matter movement for one of my grad classes. It has been eye-opening to say the least. One of the points that has been discussed in class is that there are people that feel that the BLM movement diminishes the value of other lives. No,from how I see it it is not the Black Lives Matter More movement, it is the Black Lives Matter, too movement. But still, there are people (and maybe rightfully so) that will say what about military lives? what about transgender lives? don't they matter? They do! Because ALL LIVES MATTER. One movement does not lessen the value or importance of another. They can all matter simultaneously and harmoniously if we allow them to. It's not a battle...it is about raising awareness.
Here is what I think. I think this world is a pretty crappy place sometimes. There is alot of bad. Rape, domestic violence, terrorism, sex trafficing, murder (MURDER!), there is crime and injustice and bigotry and hate and all sorts of terrible shit everywhere throughout the world. And if you think about it too much for too long you may want to curl into a ball and hide from it all. I don't know the answer as to how we teach others to value human life, I don't. I don't know how we change all of this but I think it starts with this- TOLERANCE.
We are all different, each and every one of us. Not just our skin color or sexual preference, it is in every tiny thing that makes us who we are. And just because I am different than you that does not necessarily make me worse or better as a person. It just makes me me and you you. and we are not the same EXCEPT for the fact that we are both human beings and our bodies and mind function the same way. BUT even though we are different you can still like me as a person, you and I could even be friends. We can learn from one another and have a healthy relationship that adds value to each other's lives. No, I am not saying that you need to like or love every person on the planet. There are people that maybe we just are too different to relate to, maybe there is too much conflict or confusion and turmoil. But that doesn't mean we have to hate them for that. Why not just be tolerant and accepting of differences and move on. Worry about yourself. Your family. The things that are important to you. That has to be the starting point to change. Tolerance, acceptance, respect, peace.
I have friends that are conservative and liberal, catholic and jewish, gay and straight, rich and poor, white, black and purple. Do I agree with everything they believe? Probably not. Do I still love and respect them? Of course. But I need to offer that same to all mankind to the best of my abilities. It is my duty. If I want to see a change then I have to live a life filled with actions that reflect it. I have to be a vehicle of change. And you do too. We need to be better. We need to stop this unnecessary violence and hate. People need to just stop killing each other. People need to just stop hating. It is heart breaking.
So today and every day I vow to try and be more tolerant, more accepting, more loving. I need to be...or else what is the point?
I also shared a link to a story about India Clarke, a 25 year old transgender woman that was found beaten to death on Tuesday. Here is the link.
Chime in, I would love to hear from you about these topics. How can we facilitate change?
Love and hugs,