Black Lives Matter

This article was written by Melody Simpson on behalf of Sherley Altidor. To visit Melody’s blog, visit Hollywood The Write Way.

Today, we’re talking about Black lives. Because Black lives matter. This does not mean that no other lives matter. It means that white supremacy and white privilege exists, thus a reminder about the human matter of valuing all lives, including Black lives, is necessary. 

Police officers have been mistreating the Black race for far too long. Our Black Queens and Kings are being eradicated by white authority every single day. As much as many non-Black people do not want to admit it, the treatment of Black people in this society has always been different and not in a good way. There is no equity.

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In this country, you’re hated if you’re Black, if you’re a woman, if you’re a Muslim, if you’re Jewish, if you’re gay, lesbian, transgender, if you’re Asian, Latinx, etc… It makes me ill to know how much we are hated and that at the end of the day, we continue to live in a time where on a constant basis, racism is learned , taught, and freely practiced.

We as the human race are so animalistic, often, worse. We try so hard to be civil. Some of us succeed and others fail. Those failures have been boldly stated as the opposite, more and more ever since the 2016 election. I wonder, if we didn’t see color or if we didn’t see sexual preference, which some animal races don’t even put an emphasis on, would we still be so violent towards each other?

White supremacy is real

We definitely live in a world where white supremacy is real. It is alive and well. It has always been real. There has been a significant amount of change over time in the way that it is shown and the way that America as a whole chooses to acknowledge it but the reality of it is, racism exists. 

When I see a human being, I make an effort to never judge someone based on the color of their skin. But everyone does not use logic. Do we all just need to admit that we are not good people and we strive to be civil in a world that we just don’t know how to live in? In this country, it often feels like the price of someone’s life when they are not with is worthless. This is what we are fighting against. The loss of life due to authority backed by white supremacy.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. If we did not see color, sexual preference, or religion, would the violence stop?

I very much doubt it. There will always be something different about us. We are not meant to all be the same. Those differences will always stick out. The color of my skin is always going to allow certain people to treat me differently. I am aware the fact that because I am a Black woman, I am going to be treated differently. Because I am Haitian, I am going to be treated differently. I fear for my son and daughter and what they have to endure.

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The death of George Floyd has made the world all aware of what is going on and forced those who have turned a blind eye to the issue to choose to be on the right side of history or not. Some people whose eyes are being opened and want to work to change this country for the better may not know what to say or what to do now. We are not obligated to do the work for them but I encourage you to encourage those coming to you to continue to seek out the knowledge and resources that they need to educate themselves and support Black lives.

Why is it important to feel superior to any human? 

Who gives anyone the right to make someone feel less important?

We do so much that we don’t even realize that shapes how we move throughout the world but going to an affluent or Ivy League University may not save you.  I did not attend college and the person who has will not be seen as any different when both of us are pulled over by a cop. 

When a Black person does excel and become successful, using Michelle and Barack Obama as examples, it takes so much effort for their hard work to be recognized and not be seen as a shock. Believe it. We can do it. We worked twice as hard to prove our worth and get there, too.  With little praise in return.

Ways You Can Help with Black Lives Matter

1) Donate

The Minnesota Freedom Fund has a list of places to donate to that are on the ground, doing the work to save and amplify Black voices. I encourage you to look at not only donating to organizations but individual people. Some people are wary of donating to organizations because they are not sure exactly what the money is being used for. Well, I’ve got news for you. The Black people that you know wouldn’t mind extra money in their pockets for groceries or gas. So many Black people have been laid off due to COVID-19, so many Black families are having to bury families during COVID-19, and so many Black people have court cases to pay for. Seek out non-Black people in your community who you can help. Every dollar counts and adds up.

https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/

You can also donate in other ways. Aside from donating money, you can donate your books to prisons. You can donate your time to volunteer, whether at a prison, a suicide hotline, or more. Find the way that you are able to donate, be it money, time, or material things and donate to your heart’s desire. It all matters.

2) Read

Get educated. Seek out lists of Anti-Racist books, read these books, and enact what you have learned from these books into your real life. Take a look at your bookcases and see how many Black authors are on your list. If your bookcase is not as diverse as the nation we live in, that is a problem. Self-correct and buy books by Black authors. Buy books written by Africans, African-Americans, Haitians, Jamaicans, etc. Buy non-fiction, buy fiction, buy adult, buy young adult and children’s books. Diversify your reading list. Here’s a list of anti-racist books from NY Mag to get you started on your reading journey:

https://nymag.com/strategist/article/anti-racist-reading-list.html

3) Support Black Businesses

Look for local Black businesses in your area to support and seek out Black businesses nationwide to support as a replacement to Amazon. Be patient receiving shipments as Black businesses are seeing an overwhelming amount of support and are adjusting to their new orders and there may be a delay with their distributors whose priorities may be bigger clients (like Target or Walmart for example). Here’s a list from Forbes to get you started:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elisabethbrier/2020/06/05/75-black-owned-businesses-to-support/#59f7b5c23814

4) Attend a Protest Near You

Utilize social media to pinpoint protests – marches and sit ins happening near you. Follow the #BlackLivesMatter feed on Twitter and Instagram and search for protests in your area. For instance, you can search #BlackLivesMatterLA for Los Angeles protests. Also search #BLM. You may have to wait until the day of to search as sometimes information is put up at the last minute for the safety of the protestors, to avoid giving a lead time to the opposing parties. Also be sure to be prepared by wearing your mask, wear gloves, bring hand sanitizer, water, sunscreen and if needed, protective gear (such as protective glasses). We encourage you to not attend alone if you are a person of color as there is safety in numbers. Be sure to write down the number of your lawyer or any important numbers you need on your arm so that you can be prepared for any situation.

5) Listen to the Black People in Your Life

Listen to what they have to say about injustice. Listen, listen, listen. Be an open ear, do not interject. Meditate on what’s been said and think about what you can do in your life to ease the concerns that you hear about. It’s time to pay attention, step up, and be an ally where in times you may have fallen short before. Now is not the time to interject and explain how much you understand or can relate because if you are not Black, you may be able to sympathize but you will not ever be able to fully understand what it’s like to walk through life  in America and the world as a Black person. So it’s up to everyone to do their part to push forward not just equally but equity. Don’t laugh at racially insensitive jokes. Question everything you may have let life before. Use critical thinking like never before and allow yourself to have your mind expanded on experience beyond your own.

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In Memory Of

Breonna Taylor

Atatiana Jefferson

Aura Rosser

George Floyd

Sandra Bland

Michelle Cusseaux

Janisha Fonville

Oluwatoyin Salau

Riah Milton

Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells

Stephon Clark

Botham Jean

Tamir Rice

Philando Castile

Alton Sterling

Freddie Gray

Eric Garner

Michael Brown

And to all of those lost to police brutality and violence. We are with you. We will continue to fight for justice, equality, and equity. We love you.

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Black Lives Matter

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