Black Lives Matter is an activist movement, originating in the black community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. BLM regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. It was after the acquittal of George Zimmerman who blatantly gunned down Trayvon Martin, that this movement began with just a simple hashtag. But after the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown the movement escalated to protests and unrest in the community, especially when the cops involved were not charged.
As a proud Black woman, I didn’t readily embrace this movement, and because of it I was faced a lot of heat from others who assumed I should rally along with the rest of my race. I didn’t believe it made me less black because I didn’t agree with everything they stood for. I was involved in many debates on Facebook, at my job, and even in my home because I held the belief that ALL LIVES MATTER! I also looked into each incident and found fought in both parties. I agreed that yes the cops used excessive force, abused their power, and profiled many of the victims. However I saw resistance, disregarding authority, and also using force causing the police to react. After losing my brother to violence, I stand against violence and injustice of all kinds. I would listen to the BLM activists and I would literally cringe at what I heard to be divisive rhetoric as they shouted “Black Dollar” and “Black Businesses” and “Black Economics”. I am just a believer in the melting pot, and the idea that we can one day truly overcome all this madness if we just begin to see past race.
It wasn’t until the day we boarded the Detroit Experience Factory tour bus and headed toward Southwest Detroit, that I begin to view BLM through different lenses. We visited the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC), a community center that is culturally based to fit the needs of the Hispanic people it serves. Although Detroit has an array of cultures, traditions, and races, I understood how important it is to have an identifying refuge specific to a race of people.
I still believe ALL LIVES MATTER but I have began it embrace the BLM movement. Because now I understand that they are not fighting to be divided, but they are actually fighting to be included, fighting to be treated fair, fighting for justice. This is a movement of change and I decided to pick up the torch and rally with my people to help change the narrative for all people.