When I first heard that presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was booed off of the stage at a political rally for making the statement that all lives matter, I have to admit, I was angry. I didn’t understand how that statement could be misunderstood.
We all matter. Right?
Whether the life in question is black or white or any shade in-between, they all matter. Can’t we just agree and move on?
At the Conference Center, the staff has entered into an intentional time of discussing race, racism and white privilege. I have come to treasure these discussions because for me, a white male closing in on middle age, the conversations have been enlightening. I am learning of privilege, power and how to identify the sin of racism in the world around me… as well as in my own life. I work with incredible people that have allowed me to ask questions and to express my confusion. To my co-workers I say thank you for your grace and patience.
What I have come to understand about the “Black Lives Matter” movement is when someone like me alters the statement to “All Lives Matter,” I am not simply forgetting the struggle that African Americans face, but I am choosing to willfully ignore the reality that the value of black lives remains under assault in the United States. By claiming that all lives matter in the face of black lives matter, I am demeaning other people’s stories. It is as if I am giving a wink and a nod to the plight of African Americans, while I let the issue slip away under the guise of all lives mattering.
I have a long way to go, but thanks be to God for the loving, grace-filled people that have helped me to understand that #BLACKLIVESMATTER.