My Voice: Black Lives Matter
Mireliz B. | Oley Valley High School | Grade 12
The most controversial statement of this century is composed of three words: Black Lives Matter. Although small in length, it has become the most vehemently discussed organization. The misinterpretation of this motto has caused an uproar in our modern society. On one side of our society, we have the people who are the allies to those in jeopardy of being treated unequally, especially the minorities. The other half of society is composed of the people who cannot grasp the concept of Black Lives Matter and what it represents. This divergence in our country is creating us versus them mentality. Until recently, I did not understand why the motto specified that blacks were the ones that mattered. Why not everyone? As a minority of a different race, I wanted my people to matter too. That mindset is the one that is destroying the American dream of every man being born equal. This organization, STAR (Stand Together Against Racism), taught me that Black Lives Matter was not about an African American’s life being more important than another, but that they need more attention and support, thus making them matter.
Before we created this club, it was just a group of kids wanting to get together to understand and talk about racism. In one of our early meetings, they showed a cartoon to help us comprehend why it is Black Lives Matter, and not All Lives Matter. It showed two characters discussing what was more important: a burning house or the house next door to it. One of the cartoon characters spoke about their burning house, which represents the African American community, who today is not facing a burning house but police brutality. The other character spoke about how their house was just as important, which represents the people who argue that “all lives matter”. Throughout the cartoon, the two characters continue to discuss the burning house and the house next door. In the end, the African American character tells the other that the owner of the house died in the fire.
This tragic death foreshadows what will happen if we do not try to understand why blacks need our support and attention. Black people are stigmatized and stereotyped daily. Families worry if their loved ones will come home safe or brought home in a body bag. The movement of Black Lives Matter is about a group of people calling out for help and teaching their younger generations to take pride in their culture and pigmentation. More importantly, to take back their right to be equal and make the same living as anyone else in this country. If people would try to understand this concept and eventually accept the severity of an African American’s situation, then this nation would be one step closer to being great again.
Image Source: Kris Straub, chainsawsuit.com