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What It Would Take for Me, a White Conservative Grandmother, to Join Black Lives Matter


 IJR Opinion is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

Dear Black Lives Matter leadership team,

I have watched your organization grow from a group of concerned citizens who protested the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin in 2013 to the powerhouse it is today, with local chapters across the country. While there are many things we disagree on, we agree on this fundamental point: that black lives matter.

Your work to draw attention to the need of black communities to be confident in police presence and protection of their citizens is admirable. Your diligence in seeking legal justice for citizens of color is commendable. But there are black lives whose situations I have never seen addressed by you with the same vigor you applied to tragedies like the killings of Martin and Michael Brown.

On November 2, 2015, 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was lured into a Chicago alley and shot execution-style in a gang revenge killing. If ever you would speak up for innocent black lives lost to senseless violence this would have been the time.

But I didn't see your national organization scheduling protests or speaking out for this precious little boy. This black life mattered.

6-year-old Kingston Frazier was shot to death in May of this year by three teens when they stole his mother’s car with the child inside. His body was found still in the vehicle.

There were no marches to draw attention to the violence and hatred that took his young life. This black life mattered.

In February 2017, three children were killed within two days of each other in Chicago in gang-related violence. Kanari Gentry-Bowers, 12, Takiya Holmes, 11, and 2-year-old Lavontay White, Jr. were shot to death.

But your organization did not make sure their names were forever sealed in the consciousness of America like Michael Brown’s or Trayvon Martin’s. Their black lives mattered.

Your organization has some interest in international affairs since you have accused Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.”

So why did Black Lives Matter remain silent when, on April 14, 2014, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the extremist Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram? Your website states, “We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny and male-centeredness.” Wouldn’t being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery and manual labor count as sexism and misogyny?

And just last week, Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, hacked three Kenyan Christians to death after they refused to recite an Islamic prayer. The group then went to the home of one of their brothers and killed him. Al-Shabaab beheaded nine Kenyans in one attack last month and four people two days earlier.

I can find no record of you using your influence to draw attention to these black lives lost in unimaginable violence.

Over 1,000 people lost their lives in the August 14 mudslides in Sierra Leone, but relief efforts have been almost non-existent.

If these black lives matter, why not use some of your millions in funding to send some teams to help in this tragedy — or donate part of that stash to organizations with boots on the ground there?

Finally, a disproportionate number of black children are targeted for destruction in abortion facilities across our country every day. Black children are killed at a rate three times that of white babies. Every one of those lives is precious and worth defending. These black lives matter, too.

Your silence on these lives that were taken by violence or lost in natural disasters points to your involvement with only those lives who can be used to advance your political agenda. If you actually spoke for all of those lives who can offer you no political advantage, I could consider standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you to defend “the least of these."

Sincerely,

A mom who believes all lives matter