#BlackLivesMatter. We’re all familiar with it. It’s the popular hashtag that’s been used by the Twitter population to vent their frustration and sadness about the horrific, unjustified murders of black people at the hands of the Police. This hashtag is a great thing, but it is part of a growing trend of hashtags, such as #PrayForOrlando, that arise in the wake of heart-wrenching tragedies. For the loved ones of the victims it’s a great show of support that lets them know that they have the sympathies of millions of people. But it’s not enough.
We need to back our words with actions. When we use #BlackLivesMatter we do not intend to demean the deaths of those who have fallen to the acts of hatred. But if we continue to do nothing but respond to a trend, then we only reduce something awful to the latest in a line of something that is merely associated with a hashtag. These acts of unspeakable violence need to be fought against with more than twitter fingers. Examine the situation. It’s been a year since the Ferguson incident and yet all our internet outrage has not stopped the tide of police brutality that has swept the United States. It is naïve to assume that racism will over fade into non-existence. Hatred is a powerful force that appears in various forms, prejudice and all its branches being one of them. Racism and the persecution of black communities has been a problem that has lingered long before 21st century police brutality. But who are we to stand by and let it roam freely.
I plead anyone who is reading this to donate to the funds of the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castle, whose links I have included at the bottom of the article, or the Black Lives Matter movement. Contact your local legislators and councilmen and inform them that change is necessary and we are not willing to let these travesties continue. If there are protests or marches nearby join them and stand in solidarity to support the black victims. You don’t need to be a huge star like Kendrick Lamar and drop an album commenting on the racial injustice of America to help initiate change in the police brutality situation.
Black people are incredible and have so much to offer. Black people are some of our best and most influential artists, politicians and workers. They have a vast and fascinating culture. They are our fellows and we are blessed to have them. But they are being subjected to murder and oppression. Ask yourself, what will you do? Will you help these people who have done so much for our communities or will we let black oppression remain commonplace? I will close this article with an extract from Maya Angelou’s poem “And Still I Rise”:
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Alton Sterling donation page: www.gofundme.com/2d3eze7g/donate
Philando Castle page: www.gofundme.com/2d55v9g
Black Lives Matter donate page: www.donate.idex.org/checkout/donation?eid=66399