It’s with a heavy and exhausted heart that I lay in bed tonight. At the beginning of this week, we celebrated our country’s independence. Tomorrow is Friday and we are mourning the loss of over 6 individuals. We’ve lost #PhilandoCastile, #AltonSterling, #dylannoble, and at this time 5 members of the #DPD. In the morning that number might be higher. We are living in very unique times right now. If you follow me on Twitter I’ve been reeling all night at what’s happening. History is being written as we share hashtags on social media. We’re sitting in the wake of a new wave of civil rights. Our country is at war with itself. My mind is blown and my heart is aching. Whether it’s cops killing men, or men killing cops, or Donald Trump supporters hitting protestors, or Anti-Trump protestors jumping people leaving Trump Conventions, or an unstable man opening fire on a club full of people, we are destroying ourselves.
The Black Lives Matter protest that was taking place in downtown Dallas this evening was a peaceful protest; cops stood and posed for photos with protestors and respected their right to peacefully protest in the street. That’s because Black Lives Matter is not a violent or anti-police movement. I had the opportunity to hear the leader of BLM speak this past semester at Texas State and I loved what she had to say. Saying Black Lives Matter does NOT mean that white lives, cop lives, or any other lives don’t matter. It’s saying that, yes, all lives DO matter, but at this time, it’s black lives that are being persecuted. We’ve seen it time after time over the past few years especially. Institutionalized racism exists and to say it doesn’t is willful ignorance. But more than all of that, we have to realize that this is not just a problem for communities of PoC. It’s a problem for me as a brown man. It’s a problem for America. When a man can walk in to a church and shoot up a room full of people, or a deranged person can walk into a theatre and kill several people and both can walk out unscathed but a man of color reaches for his wallet after being told to do so and is shot in front of his girlfriend and a child, we have to admit that there is a problem. When a college student rapes a woman and media prints his swim time, but a man is murdered and the media prints his criminal record, we have to admit that there is a problem. And problems can’t be solved until we admit, accept, and begin to plan how we can move forward. It is not our place to tell members of the black community that what they’re experiencing isn’t real. It’s not our place to tell them that all lives matter. Because the way it looks to them is that their lives dont matter as much as their white counterparts.
But I still believe it goes deeper than that. Because I don’t think that all cops are racist killers. And I don’t think that all black men and women are criminals. Just like I don’t believe that all Muslims are terrorists, or all Christians are like the members of Westboro Baptist Church. I believe that the number of cops willing to risk their lives to save mine outnumber the amount of cops who are walking around with a huge chip on their shoulder. Ending someone’s life should be the last resort. It’s become so easy to shoot people. We’ve stopped placing value on the lives of others when this many people are murdered in one single week for senseless reasons. We’ve got to stop being quiet. We’ve got to stand up and speak out against violence and injustice and spread love and acceptance and understanding and sympathy. It’s so easy to send out that tweet that says “Lord please come back only you can fix this world” but what steps are we taking to help? Are we listening to our black brothers and sisters and being sympathetic to their pain? Are we telling people in the LGBT community that they are loved and valued? Are we being respectful of police officers while also holding them to a higher standard? Are we being proactive and putting a stop to the spread of misinformation and instead replacing that with the spread of truth?
We need to be a people of prayer AND action. You absolutely cannot pray and remain indifferent towards an issue in the same way you don’t pray for a new job and then not fill out job applications. God can’t move unless the Body is willing to move and more and more I am seeing a Body too scared to offend or ruffle feathers to move.
So yes, black lives matter.
And so do cop lives.
And white lives.
And your lives and my lives.
The officers of Dallas shouldn’t have died.
Philando Castile shouldn’t have died.
All of those men and women in Florida shouldn’t have died.
But the world isn’t going to change until we do.