We’ve seen well crafted statements from organizations, businesses and more claiming to “stand with the black community”. What exactly is Black Lives Matter? It is certainly more than a hash tag.
Created in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, three women – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi – created Black Lives Matter in 2013. Since that time, the murders have unfortunately not stopped. While this movement has been around for quite some time and has numerous local chapters, it was not until 2020 that the masses truly began to take notice and embrace the true meaning of the movement and accept the fact that Black Lives Matter is a necessity.
I can recall sitting in a meeting and hearing a colleague describe a tense situation. She described the catalyst being a team member wearing a t-shirt with a negative statement on it. She was uncomfortable sharing what the statement was in that moment. I later observed her sharing the actual ‘negative statement’ by mouthing to another white colleague. It was Black Lives Matter.
The positive notions of this movement are not up for debate though often met with an immediate and ignorant rebuttal of “All Lives Matter”.
In a world where African-Americans are more often than not still paid far less than their white counterparts, rarely serving in executive leadership positions and murdered because they are perceived as threats, we have to have something. We have to have something to affirm the fact that we are worthy. By proclaiming Black Lives Matter, no-one is negating another race or culture. We are simply reminding ourselves that we matter. Our existence matters. Black Lives Matter is an affirmation – a love song – to keep us moving forward in a world that seems to only appreciate how fast we run, lovely we sing, our dance moves or how our curves fill out a new dress.
As we repeatedly mourn the lives of so many African-Americans who are taken from this world because of police mistakes (or missions), Black Lives Matter serves as our eulogy. While we may not know the individuals personally or attend their memorial services, they remind us that it could have been us, our husband, father, or child. We not only mourn the lost lives. We mourn as we acknowledge this fact: it could have been me or him.
Peace and Love. Black Lives Matter.