I was driving home from Downtown Atlanta a few days ago and passed by a Coca Cola billboard that read, “we live as many, we stand as one”. When I saw it, my mind and my heart were on the same wave. The feeling of unity was filling me. It was more than a sign but a statement. For the first time in weeks I felt something positive in the world.
That statement sent messages through my soul. People so often forget that we are all people first. Before we are black people or white people or any other kind of people, we are people first.
So it baffles me that people choose to say #alllivesmatter in response to #blacklivesmatter because they feel that #blacklivesmatter is somehow exclusive or dismissive. Actually, it hurts a little. It feels like someone is saying that there is no need to recognize the current issues that result from past occurrences. The #blacklivesmatter movement was not created to destroy anything but hate towards black people in regard to police brutality. It was created to remind society that black people are people.
Over the past few weeks I have seen more and more videos explaining the reason why #blacklivesmatter exist and how people attempt to dismiss it. America has a history of exploiting black people and treating us as if we are not even people. Black people were treated like pieces of meat and fed to the dogs. Black people were treated like dirty equipment and hosed off. Black people were treated like raw cattle and hung. Centuries have changed but the treatment has pretty much remained. Black people have attempted to prove that we are human for years. Recently it reached the point that black people had to create a statement/movement to tell others simply that #blacklivesmatter and to #stopkillingus.
The last few days I have seen multiple videos exposing and explaining racism. This is great! It means that conversations are happening and people are talking about the truth and being real. It means that actual steps can be made towards progress. It shows that humans are still out there. By humans I mean people who genuinely care about other people. People that believe that #blacklivesmatter because #alllivesmatter instead of attempting to separate the two and feed into the division.
It is understood that there are multiple groups that face maltreatment and prejudice in America. It is also understood that those other groups do not deal with all of the same issues that black people deal with. It would not be fair to compare groups in this manner as they are not “apples and apples” so to speak. The #blacklivesmatter movement does not mention the lack of suffering in any other group however, it focuses on the issue of police brutality in the black community. This brutality has led to multiple deaths of unarmed black men and women with no recourse or justice.
The fact is, NO ONE DESERVES TO BE MURDERED FOR BEING A PERSON. Regardless of race, nationality, creed, gender,occupation, whatever; no one should be killed just because they are a person. The killings that have recently taken place have happened because of race and because of uniform. None of it is okay. Again, NO ONE DESERVES TO BE MURDERED FOR BEING A PERSON. The people who died are all people with families. They all had jobs and friends. They all have people who miss them. None of them should have been targeted just because they are who they are.
With all of this going on, it felt really good to see that sign. It felt like more people are understanding why #blacklivesmatter exist. It felt like more of the world is waking up and realizing what is going on. It felt like more of the world is speaking up. It felt like a major statement went out that unity is so much more beautiful than hatred.
By: Shay Cole
Facebook: Shay Cole