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.
- How Racism and Inequality Are Influencing the Rise of Legalized Cannabis in the United States, via Open Society Foundations
- ACLU Report Reveals Ongoing Racial Disparities in Cannabis Arrests, via Cannabis Business Times
- How The Police Stop And Search Black Drivers On The Basis of Less Evidence Than Used in Stopping White Drivers, via The Stanford Open Policing Project
- Legal marijuana made big promises on racial equity — and fell short, via NBC News
- The Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods, via Brookings
- J.P. Morgan Chase’s $55 Million Discrimination Settlement, via The Atlantic
- The Strength of Whites’ Ties: How Employers Reward the Referrals of Black and White Jobseekers, via Social Forces/Oxford Academic
- Racial Disparities in Voting Wait Times: Evidence from Smartphone Data, via Cornell University
- Actually, The Electoral College Was a Pro-Slavery Ploy, via The New York Times
- GOP Racial Gerrymandering Mastermind Participated in Redistricting in More States Than Previously Known, Files Reveal, via The Intercept
- Black Preschoolers Far More Likely To Be Suspended, via NPR
- Demographic Differences in Sentencing, via The United States Sentencing Commission
- The Unintended Consequences of Marijuana Decriminalization, via The Conversation
- Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrests, via NORML
- Non-White Schools Get $23 Billion Less Than White Districts Despite Serving The Same Number of Students, via EdBuild
- Report of The Sentencing Project to the United Nations Human Rights Committee: Regarding Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System, via The Sentencing Project
- Racial Profiling in Louisiana: Unconstitutional and Counterproductive, via Southern Poverty Law Center
- The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, via The Atlantic
- Crackdown on Racial Bias Could Boost Drivers’ Costs for Auto Loans, via The Wall Street Journal
- Despite Narrowing Gap, Racial Health Disparities Remain, via The American Academy of Family Physicians
- The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children, via Goff, Jackson, Di Leone, Culotta, AND Ditomasso
- Report: Black Girls 5 Times More Likely To Be Suspended From School Than White Girls, via The Roots
- Stark Black – White Divide in Wages is Widening Further, via The Economic Policy Institute
- Cannabis industry shouldn’t expand until we fix marijuana’s racial inequities, injustices, via USA Today
- The Race Gap in High School Honors Classes, via The Atlantic
- Acknowledging privilege and diversity — why today’s “All Lives Matter” gets it all wrong, via The Cardinal
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.