These are such stressful days. I am going to do my best not to make this a political post. Because at this point, our leaders in politics are not helping, AT ALL! This really falls upon each and every one of us, to make the difference, to take the steps toward recognizing that all lives really do matter. And I did not put that phrase in quotes, because it does not need to be quoted. It should be a way of life. And while we can say it, while we can live it, we need to have everyone understand why we are not at that place right now.
Now, I need to stay in my lane here. I am not black of skin color. So I cannot even begin to know how many, if not all, are feeling right now with all the violence being inflicted upon them, unnecessarily, and all too often, fatally. I have many friends of all colors, the majority of those colors being black. Again, I am going to stay in my lane. I know what I have seen, heard, and read. I have made my mind up on my own, not what media or groups want me to see and believe. All lives do matter, again not in quotes. But that also means that has to include black lives. And as long as our society stays complicit in its tolerance of racism and white nationalism, too many are willing to express all lives matter, but they actually mean “except blacks.”
Before I go any further, I am going to get into a lane that I know all too well, and this will help me to explain and prove my point mentioned above.
All cancers matter. Of course they do. But there is one organization that will tell you that all cancers matter, but if you get specific about a certain type, like mine, you would find yourself disappointed to find out, that your type of cancer, or in my case, Hodgkn’s Lymphoma, does not matter enough to be included in their mission.
I learned this reality several years back. Being a cancer advocate for thirty years, it was just something that I took for granted. But several years ago, I discovered only certain majorities of cancer mattered to their organization: breast, colon, and lung, the big three. Of course, that led me to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, because they represented my type of cancer specifically. But now, I found myself, being pulled in two different directions. Of course I cared about other cancers. I had five other family members die from cancer, one of those had two different types of cancer, and another had a relapse. But I also needed to focus on the organization that I relied upon for my cancer, especially realizing that I was not going to get any support I needed for my Hodgkin’s.
All cancers do matter. I know that. But it is not only understandable, but okay, for my cancer to matter more to me. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a rare cancer, but I need you to know it matters just as much as all of the others. But you will never know about my struggles if all you hear is “all cancers matter.” I need to make you aware of the cancer that I deal with. That is why, “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma matters.” That statement does not take away from the needs of the other cancers. It is an awareness. And that awareness would get lost if it were not announced by itself.
So there are all kinds of cancer movements or specific activities, Relay For Life (all cancers… sort of), Light The Night (for Lymphoma and blood cancers), Making Strides (breast cancer). But as a cancer patient and survivor, you will never hear one of us at any of these events, protesting about an “all inclusive” demand to be recognized. We know what and who we are participating for and with at these events.
Which brings me back to “Black Lives Matter.” No one can deny that “all” lives matter. We are human beings, whether with religious beliefs or not. But right now, there is just something so awful going on in our society, and in my short lifetime, I have been witness to too many horrific incidents against black lives. And I have seen all too often the aftermath as the black population tried to bring awareness by themselves, only to be misrepresented in history as thugs and destructive vandals. And currently, because of our current leadership, politics now plays a role in this “disease”, and that is exactly what it is, because by making all of us aware of blatant racism, it is somehow perceived that it is an attack on that leadership, which of course brings out all of the other “lives matter” mantras, in hopes of drowning out the “Black Live Matter” cause, a shiny object if you will, a distraction.
I do not know what it is like for a black person to be approached by a police officer, even if the officer is just being friendly, just to say “good afternoon.” I am starting to see it now, with one particular incident standing out way before the murder of George Floyd. His name was Walter Scott. He was pulled over for a traffic violation. But as he had a concern about law enforcement, he made the decision once he got out of his car, to run. Unarmed, he was shot in the back by an officer claiming self defense. This scene plays out too many times, yes, most recently with the murder of George Floyd, and already more have occurred.
I support the Black Lives Matter movement. Any other reference to them other than a peaceful protest is nothing more than a dog-whistle distraction to call out antagonists to commit acts that would dishonor the intentions of the BLM movement. There is a big difference between a peaceful protester and a looter/rioter. They are not the same. The first amendment guarantees the right to peacefully assemble and protest. It says nothing about restricting or defining what a peaceful protest is. It cannot be helped if you do not like the language, the message, or the volume. Those things make no difference in making it a peaceful protest. And I do believe everyone matters. But right now, this is their cause. I do not know what my black friends are going through, but I understand it. And I support it what they are doing. And hopefully different than what I witnessed in 1992 with the LA riots following the Rodney King injustice of the five cops being acquitted of brutality which was witnessed by the world, I am hoping this finally brings the changes necessary to make sure that everyone matters.