Lives That Matter

LIves That MatterThe picture at left helped crystallize the definition of the #BlackLivesMatter movement for me.

“We said, ‘Black Lives Matter’.
We never said only Black Lives Matter.
We know All Lives Matter.
We all just need your help.
For Black Lives are in danger.”

When we say “Blue Lives Matter,” it’s not meant to diminish our support of the fight against racism. Especially now, when so many blue lives are cut short as they protect us from harm. Blue lives are in danger.

When we say, “We support protest,” that doesn’t mean we support the anarchy and destruction that the few are engaged in to try and paint the whole movement in a negative light. Peaceful protesters are in danger.

When we say that we need to hold individuals accountable for their actions, it does not mean that we are painting the entirety of a group with the misdeeds of the few. That’s not fair.

It’s important to listen carefully to the words we hear and be sensitive about the words we say. It’s all too easy to vector to the negative when we see videos of a few people behaving badly. It’s dangerous to assume that all who wear a uniform or all who have a certain complexion reflect what is seen on the screen.

Social media doesn’t help. You can’t distill complex issues into 240 character sound bytes.

But you can inflame and agitate. You can hurt feelings and damage friendships.

You can further the divisions that already exist, instead of seeking to find the common ground that is essential to our survival as a nation.

Finding common ground is hard. There are nuances of intransigence that make it hard to compromise. No solution is perfect.

All solutions are only beginnings. Like the imperfect human beings who create them, they evolve as we learn.

They begin with seeking to understand.

And truly understanding what we mean when we talk about Lives That Matter is a beginning.