Say Their Names
Today I will be releasing a blog post that I had promised early last month. I have thought long and hard about how to approach this topic, and I have decided I will honor my word.
Here's the thing about this topic, it is politically charged, grief filled, and there are many on both sides of the fence. I will let the blog from Danielle speak for itself, but I want to be clear about where I stand on this.
I believe that every life has value, every life lost is a tragedy.
I believe Black Lives Matter.
It took me 30 seconds to find the name of every police officer that has died in the line of duty in the last 10 years, and more than 8 hours of research to find a solid amount of data that shares the information for the people killed by police brutality.
This article is meant to educate. As a white woman it is my job to educate myself, not the job of my brothers and sisters of color. The issue at hand is NOT that blue lives, white lives, or all lives DO NOT matter. Think about it this way, if my house was on fire in a neighborhood, the priority of the fire department should be to put out the fire. When my neighbor runs out and demands that the fire department do preventive fire fighting measures on their home, they aren't wrong for wanting to save their home. The issue is, if we put out the fire in my house successfully, there is no reason to do damage control for their home, if or when it becomes necessary to do preventative measures, the fire department would.
It is NOT that their home is not of value, it is that their house is NOT on fire right now. My brothers and sisters homes are on fire right now.
So, what about the protests you ask? I have seen hours of footage of the protests, we have helped clean up our city. I have had to explain to my three year old why we were cleaning the city. I have read for hours on the actual policies that lawmakers have passed, or are trying to pass.
There are so many instances of police kneeling in the streets, then firing tear gas minutes or hours later, showering rubber bullets down on peaceful protests. Here is what I have to say on that. It is like an abusive spouse showering you with love bombs and gifts.
Imagine for a second you have a friend named Jill. Jill has a spouse, this spouse is your sibling. After 15 years Jill comes to you and shares with you how there has been years of verbal, financial, emotional, and physical abuse. First you struggle to believe it because this is your sibling after all. You haven't seen any abuse and you've known them their whole life. Slowly Jill begins to show you years worth of evidence and you start to believe her. Over the following years you support her the best way you know how, doing the emotional labor, helping her plan how to leave, they attend counseling, their social media is filled with photos of them on vacation, doing community service, and they shower Jill with gifts. Each post your sibling writes is always after an episode of abuse, sharing all the things they love about Jill, how wonderful Jill is. Each therapy session they beg for another chance and how they have changes and will continue to change.
Finally. Several years after you first had your eyes open, you are at the hospital with Jill, her arm has been broken, the bone protruding from the skin, and you see your sibling. You snap, screaming and swearing and swinging.
All around you, you are seeing the effects of decades of abuse, abuse you may not have had your eyes open to, abuse that is allowed because of a system that favors it's creators.
You are seeing siblings swing on the abuser. You could understand swinging on a sibling who did that to your sister in law. Even if you are against violence, you can still understand it.
Below you will find ways to support the movement. Educate yourselves.
Across the world people are coming together begging for change.
You know where I stand.