All Lives Can't Matter Until Black Lives Matter
To all of the families and friends of people of color that have endured injustice for hundreds of years at the hands of the unjust, I pray for some feeling of peace and strength in knowing that the world has taken notice and will not be silenced anymore. Americans of every race, creed and color are demanding justice in the courts, throughout the penal system, and from law enforcement from now on.
Even before the most recent tragic and senseless murders of black people, our nation was living in unprecedented times. These times have allowed our country and the rest of the world to observe the sad state of relations between law enforcement and people of color, or any group of difference across this Nation.
May justice lay upon those that have done unjustly. May others learn and be guided to do things differently and to do them better.
May all of the officers, deputies, agents that are doing the right thing day after day and feeling the frustration of someone tarnishing the badge and their profession - be strong during these times and speak up when you see an injustice being committed.
We know that law enforcement is a dangerous occupation. Not just anyone can answer the call to serve and protect and that's why, there must be better selection and training of individuals that want to wear the badge of a law enforcement officer.
All of us must remember that not all members of any group are bad. Unfortunately, there are pockets within the larger groups that misrepresent the larger whole. However, this is not acceptable when we think of those to protect and serve, in law enforcement.
I have two sons. I worry about them every day. They are both professionals, they have their own careers, they are law abiding citizens, and they have never been in trouble. Despite this, because of the color of their skin, they could be a victim of a police encounter gone wrong.
Some people like to tout "All Lives Matter." They are missing the point. "Black Lives Matter" is not an exclusionary statement. Yes, all lives matter.
A helpful example to explain the concept of "Black Lives Matter" is when people say, "Save the Whales." It doesn't mean to disregard the lives of other marine life. It simply highlights how whales are becoming endangered and how we need to pay attention and act immediately to save them.
In today's climate, we need to pay attention to black lives because they seem to not matter if you look at recent events. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Sandra Bland. Philando Castille. Say their names - the list goes on and names are added daily.
This national reckoning moment and this transformational movement should not just be a flavor of the month or just something you do for likes on social media. Let us not abandon this movement. We must use this time to educate ourselves about systemic prejudices, to make a difference in our communities, to support black enterprises, and to be our brother’s/sister's keeper. Let us embrace this national movement and carry it forward towards progress and equity for all here in Bradenton.