I placed a Black Lives Matter sign on my lawn and received three hostile, threatening unsigned letters of the same style in response.
The need to assert that Black lives matter is born out of centuries of discrimination and biases against Black people. We have been made painfully aware of this from on-site videos of extreme police behavior towards people of color. Now, Black Lives Matter has become a movement to address the long-standing racial inequities of all kinds that still persist, even though many thought the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s had taken care of all that. Nationally, unarmed Black people are two times more likely to be killed by a police officer than unarmed White people. As a result of job discrimination and by extension lack of health insurance, inadequate educational systems, housing too often only available in polluted areas, the median wealth of Black families is only 10 percent that of White families. This is not “their” problem, this is all of us Americans’ problem if we are to be true to our moniker, “with liberty and justice for all.” As Americans, we need to educate ourselves about the continued inequities that simmer below the surface and then explode for us to reckon with.
For too long, Black lives have not mattered equally. Until they do, we need to respect this call to action.