We have recently had questions as it relates to the Black Lives Matter sign on our building. Having a sign across our windows saying Black Lives Matter does not exclude the value of other lives. Black Lives Matter does not mean Black lives matter more and others less.

What we are doing by amplifying the message of Black Lives Matter is providing the proper context to review the history of this country and its treatment of the Black community – a treatment that involves more than several hundred years of slavery, mass incarceration, the struggle for civil rights, and brutality that continues to this day.

Black Lives Matter brings with it an expected and understood “too” at the end of the statement. It’s the understanding that Black Lives Should Also Matter and confronting the reality that in this country they do not. Black Lives Matter is not just a message, but a practice that should be understood every day.

The declaration that ‘All Lives Matter’, however, allows those who state it to comfortably slide into the falsehood that all people and communities are fairly situated in this country, and that is factually untrue. It is also comparable to the analogy that all homes should matter to the fire department when only one is on fire. It is very easy for those who have benefited from substantial institutional privilege to declare “we are all equal, and thus all of our lives matter equally” – but that willfully ignores the black lives that are being consistently and systematically oppressed, attacked, and harmed. Saying All Lives Matter as a direct response to Black Lives Matter is to ignore the problem in this country and be complicit in its continuation.

Racially driven injustices in this country are not new and they have continued to proliferate in areas from public policy to income inequality and social mobility to the housing market to education and much more – including the cannabis industry.

If one truly believes that all lives matter in this country, or rather that all lives should matter in this country, then taking the initiative to partner with some of the groups and organizations that are campaigning and working for real, tangible, substantial, and sustainable change in this country is essential. If one believes all lives matter, then let it be shown through actions that show the belief that black lives are held in the same regard as all others.

For all lives to matter, Black lives must matter.