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What Do I Mean When I Say Black Lives Matter?

Feb
15

What Do I Mean When I Say Black Lives Matter?

I know you see it everywhere, but especially online. People shouting “black lives matter!”, writing captions, posting videos, and using hashtags about it. Over on my Instagram, I haven’t shied away from joining the conversation because it’s an important topic that needs to be addressed.

So in honor of Black History Month, I want to share my perspective on the movement, what I mean when I say black lives matter, and a few tips on how you can honor black history by being a part of history in the making right now!

What Is BLM (Black Lives Matter)?

Generally speaking, it’s a movement of people who agree that all lives should be valued equally. The reason why there is a focus on black lives is that for decades around the world, but specifically in North America, people like myself with African heritage, brown skin, melanin skin tones have been considered less worthy, undeserving, unequal, outsiders, and even slaves.

Because of this thinking, we’ve been marginalized, killed, discriminated against, and so on. The goal of this movement is to bring awareness to the fact that black lives/people are worthy and deserving of life and equal rights.

The BLM Organization

Now within the movement, there is an organization called Black Lives Matter and they have their own agenda or list of goals they strive to achieve. Over on their website, you’ll find the list of 7 demands they ascribe to include defunding the police. You can read more about that on their website.

Now when I say “black lives matter” or “I am black history” or share historical events that demonstrate the mistreatment of black people (examples include: Emmet Till who was an innocent teenager tortured and murdered by 2 grown men in 1955, or Rodney King who was beaten up by the police in 1991, or even Trayvon Martin in 2012 and  Breanna Taylor who was shot in her apartment in 2020, and the heartbreaking story of George Floyd who had a police officer, someone who was sworn to serve and protect him, shove their knee in his neck and murder him)

Related Post: It Won’t Be Business As Usual Until Black Lives Matter

I am not referring to, supporting, or am in any way affiliated with the organization. I am simply stating a fact that black lives do matter. In fact, the majority of people who say, post, or use the hashtag black lives matter or BLM are not related to the Black Lives Matter organization.

The two can become intertwined because they both share the same value in that black lives are important. This is why I want to be very clear. I am not affiliated with the BLM organization and I am not a BLM member. So now, you might be wondering, “well Tee, I love the saying BLM but I don’t want to confuse people. How can I support black people without saying black lives matter?”

How To Be A Better Ally

There are many things you could do, but here are some baby steps you can take to get started.

Baby step #1: Learn about racism

You be thinking “whoa! I’m pretty sure I know what racism is and I can assure you, I am not racist”. That might be true but I promise racism is deeper than you think and we all have racist tendencies. It’s a matter of being aware of them and doing our best to address, work through, and heal them as much as we can. This work is never-ending.
 

baby step # 2: authentic listening

Expose yourself to new ideas and perspectives that will allow you to reconsider your opinions about people from a different race than you. This is deeper than empathy.
 
It’s when you listen from your heart and try to truly understand what the other person is saying. It might be uncomfortable but practicing and being open to this allows us all to see the humanity in each other. 

baby step #3: Be a voice and stand against injustice, discrimination

Above all else, like Martin Luther King said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Your voice can create change in the world. Instead of complaining, avoiding, ignoring, or dismissing the cries (or needs) of others, use it as your weapon to help make life better for all humans everywhere.

Until next time, love you and I mean it!

Te

 

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