So here’s what I did yesterday. I was present at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire held in honor of my Black brothers and sisters who set the world on fire. I went around taking pictures of signs that spoke volumes and I recorded videos of the speeches and tributes given by people who decided to let their voices count for something. After that, I was still for about an hour. I put my phone away, closed my eyes and felt the presence of Black Lives around me— alive, angry, and hungry for justice. I realized that pictures, signs, hashtags, and protests are all well and good—but the extra mile is to continue to stay informed, VOTE, have informed conversations, read books, and make my voice count for something. So, I signed up to be a part of Black Lives Matter, Nashua division. The peace felt at that vigil/peaceful protest and the camaraderie humbled me. We matter, we matter, WE MATTER. We shouldn’t have to die to prove that we belong here. Get your foot off our necks.
Before we go any further, let us say their names: George Floyd, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson…
President Barack Obama said: “I know that there’s some who have criticized even the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ as if the notion is as if other lives don’t matter. We get ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Blue Lives Matter.’ I understand the point they’re trying to make. I think it’s also important for us to understand that the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African-Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability and so we shouldn’t get too caught up somehow in this notion that people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow automatically anti-police or trying to only look out for black lives as opposed to others. I think we have to be careful about playing that game because, obviously, that’s not what is intended.”
Let these quotes inspire you.
“I understand we all have our differences. But while learning about history I’ve read about white people coming together, Jews coming together, Spanish coming together, different cultures and religions understanding and coming together despite their differences. Slavery was never something that shocked me. What shocks me is how black people have not yet overcome the odds and we’re such strong smart people. Why we can’t just stand together?” – Jonathan Anthony Burkett.
“It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.” — Michelle Obama.
“She handed the megaphone to a woman next to her and stepped down from the podium. The second woman climbed up and spoke: “Do you know what they want? They want us to riot , they want us to cause havoc, mayhem, they want us to burn ourselves to the ground. But you know what I say? It’s not a riot, it’s an uprising . And we will continue with our uprising until we get the justice we deserve.” — Candice Carty-Williams
“We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted, we cannot normalise this pain. No more senseless killings of human beings. No more seeing people of colour as less than human. We can no longer look away.” – Beyoncé
All these pictures were taken by me from the rally yesterday.
“I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.” – Martin Luther King Jr
“People whose history and future were threatened each day by extinction considered that it was only by divine intervention that they were able to live at all. I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God’s will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.” – Maya Angelou
“You don’t need to cut out the heart in your chest so other people can breathe. You just need to let them use their lungs. The right of someone to breathe does not detract from your heartbeat. We must not fear the lives that others live. Someone else going to Heaven doesn’t mean you’re going to Hell. Someone else going to Hell does not mean you’re going to burn too. We must not fear the freedom that others have. You don’t need to stop breathing so other people can keep their lungs. You just need to let them breathe. Why don’t we all put a final end to the limitations that we think we are born into? They’re not real. They don’t exist” —C. JoyBell C.
“I have grown tired of the notion of an ally. I prefer the language of an “accomplice.” An ally loves you from a distance. An accomplice loves you up close. We need allies to make the transition to accomplices. An ally is someone who has unpacked her personal privilege but hasn’t yet made the link to institutional issues and is not willing to risk anything besides her mental comfort. An accomplice rolls up her sleeves and engages in the work that is beyond her. She’ll march in the streets, yes. But an accomplice also faces her own participation in whiteness, acknowledges it, and then looks beyond that personal acknowledgment to identify how her awareness can be applied to changing the systems and mindsets that prop up the system.” —DeRay Mckesson
“I love blackness, it is stunning, majestic, inspiring but it is also not here to serve non-black people when it suits them via sports, music, hairstyles, entertainment etc. It should be respected in the workplace and shouldn’t be ignored when it’s crying out in fear of being killed. You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER.” — Clara Amfo
“If you want to play piano, but you’re bad at playing piano, you practice and you get better. Don’t be the kind of white person who doesn’t post out of fear of fucking up. If you want to support black people, but you’re bad at supporting black people, practice and get better.” — Akilah Hughes
“If you live in this system of white supremacy, you are either fighting the system of you are complicit. There is no neutrality to be had towards systems of injustice, it is not something you can just opt out of.”– Ijeoma Oluo
“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”— James Baldwin
WE DO ALL THESE AND SAY ALL THESE BECAUSE
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