What the Hudson Valley Needs to Realize About Black Lives Matter
Many individuals and corporations showed their support for peaceful protests this weekend by sharing the phrase "Black Lives Matter." After spreading this important message on my own social media pages, I was honestly surprised by the reaction from a few people who clearly don't know what it really means.
The instant reaction from someone who doesn't understand Black Lives Matter is usually something like, "Well, don't all lives matter?" The answer to that question is a resounding yes. That's the point.
When someone says they are for women's rights, that doesn't mean they believe men shouldn't have rights too. It means you're acknowledging that women are living in a world where they are not given the same rights as men. Black Lives Matter does not mean that other lives don't matter. It means that black lives matter just as much as other lives. It's a shame it even has to be said, but it does. From George Floyd to Ahmaud Arbery to Breonna Taylor to Eric Garner to Tamir Rice to Trayvon Martin and so many more, it's clear that black lives currently do not mean as much to some. That's why it's so important to point out that they do matter.
A local business owner replied to my Instagram post yesterday, saying "all lives matter." I know this man, he's a good man and a friend. When his business was struggling after being closed down for the quarantine I personally visited, promoted the business on social media and even talked about it on my radio show, hoping to bring him some customers. I don't remember other local businesses crying "all businesses matter" when they heard me supporting this company. They didn't selfishly complain that I wasn't supporting them too. What they did do was say thank you for helping a fellow local business owner.
That's what Black Lives Matter is all about. It's pointing out that black men and women are not currently being treated fairly and that their lives do matter just as much as everyone else's. It's not something to get defensive about. Are white people sometimes the victim of brutality? Absolutely. But it's clear that black Americans are disproportionally affected by bias and this needs to end.
During the coronavirus crisis people love using the analogy that we're not all in the same boat -- but on different boats in the same storm. If that's true, let's all assist the ones in the boats that are leaking and taking on water. Don't be the guy safely afloat yelling "my boat matters too." Of course it does, and we'll all be there to help you if you start sinking too.
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