ALL LIVES MATTER
As I begin typing, I am zooming in to make this document larger and I run into “Margins.” I have been thinking a lot about the people in the margins, specifically marginalized peoples. Often when organizers, and activists state “Black Lives Matter,” many question, what about All Lives? Don’t “All Lives Matter?”
Yes, ALL LIVES MATTER.
All lives are a lot like this document. You are going to read the words in the middle of the page. The more I write the more you will focus on the center. With each word you read, the less and less significant the margins become. They are the background, easily disregarded, and therefore left out.
It’s not that Black Lives didn’t matter before and something happened where suddenly they do now. It’s that when we are living our lives with our own experiences and priorities, there are naturally people and issues that drift into the background or margins. If there is not an intentional commitment to placing those marginalized people and issues into the center, they will never be in the center. And they and their issues will be left behind.
As a woman of color who is not Black, I can understand that. I understand that I can keep my issues front and center without including other’s issues who are further in the margin. I can talk about the challenges of being a woman and that stack is high. As a person of color in the United States the stack is also high. But what I have come to understand is that being BLACK, especially a TRANSGENDER (one who does not conform to conventional notions of male or female gender) BLACK WOMAN in America – their stacks are all higher. If I am going to talk about being a woman of color today, I want to do it in a way that draws attention to me, to them and all those further into the margin.
I have made a conscious commitment to live my life with the framework that BLACK LIVES MATTER, then ALL LIVES MATTER, in that order.
What I have realized is that if I am not intentionally thinking about Black Lives, I am not honoring ALL LIVES. In the race conversation I notice that people of color have emphasis over white people. But in realizing that Black Lives Matter it magnifies the reality that the darker the shade, the more challenges people face. It’s as if a life’s value is both rooted in and granted by the lightness of its pigment.
So what should you do? My recommendation is that as you live your life, to observe how and when Black Lives Matter in your own.
To ask yourself how are you ensuring that the struggles of other people are wrapped up into your daily worldview. Only then will ALL LIVES MATTER.
*image courtesy of Activists of New York