Posted May 14, 2017 05:56 pm - Updated May 14, 2017 06:02 pm

#BLM Got It Right

After reading one of my blogs where I criticized Black Lives Matters, a stranger reached out to me to provide a different perspective on the organization. This person who I now consider to be a friend even though we have a very different life views sent me this article about Black Lives Matters. Here is an excerpt and link to the full story. 

“Groups affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement are giving a huge Mother’s Day gift to women in jail: freedom.

A group of organizations including Southerners on New Ground, the Movement for Black Lives, Color Of Change has raised over $250,000 to bail more than 30 women out of jail this week, according to the Nation.

The women have not been convicted of crimes. Rather, they have been awaiting trial and cannot afford to pay bail, The Nation reports.”

Simply stated I support the action of the groups for several reasons. I believe our justice system is broken and does not provide the same level of justice for all. Justice should not be a right available only to those that can afford it. Justice like any other right must be available to all without a price tag. 

Keeping poor people in jail who are not a risk to society or a flight risk just because they cannot afford  to,post bond does more harm than good. It robs children of their parents, and it causes fragile families to lose income needed to buy food and pay bills. You might say if you can't do the time then do the crime. To that I respond, they are still innocent until proven guilty in a trial so they shouldn't be doing time just because they are poor. 

The other reason I support it is because mothers are special and children need them. Call me old fashioned but I think mothers should hold a special place in our society and we should revere them. I think some of societal problems are the result that we have taken mothers off the pedestals from which they belong. Fathers are extremely important but mothers are often the foundation of a family. 

Finally I support the action because it isn't focused on race but helping mothers reunite with their families by paying their bail. One of my beefs with Black Lives Matters is the focus on race. I am not opposed to helping minorities, I just believe we should help all the poor, all the oppressed and all the suffering regardless of race. When you call out one race over another you divide instead of uniting. When you are colorblind in calling out injustice you rally everyone. 

My friend has very different views than mine but we share them with each other and I am a better and more insightful person because of her.  Still will disagree with her and she with me, but most definitely appreciate her perspective.  

Now, the perspective of my friend, Ms. ShaMecha Simms

As Brock mentioned, I sought him out after reading a blog he wrote on Black Lives Matter. Initially it was my concern that his audience would struggle in differentiating "Black Lives Matters" as it is portrayed through the media; and the black lives that matter because we are a spectrum of individuals experiencing love, joy, loss, setbacks, and triumphs.

When this story showed up in my newsfeed, I was excited to share it with Brock. As a society we are demanding of mothers. They are to be warm, measured, endlessly giving, modest, and ready to part with the flaws that make them human. But as many women can attest to, so many of these flaws magnify before us through the lens of motherhood.

I've known for years that the children of incarcerated women carry a particularly heavy burden. Separated from their mothers for offenses, minor and major, the family and community around these children have a critical influence on restoring their sense of security, self-worth, and hope.  

The work that was organized by groups committed to making black lives matter in reuniting children with their mothers is a gift that won't easily be forgotten. In my deepest of hopes, this experience will shift the trajectory of these families lives.

Until people chose to break away from the passive-aggressive niceties to insist that black/brown lives matter, to identify that poor lives matter, these families would still be separated.

You can choose to disagree with the movement but it's relevance for these families and those who are inspired by this powerful act will not be denied.


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Ash McGonigal 6 months ago
The premise of "Black lives matter" is an unspoken word: "also." No one argues that white lives don't matter. It's apparent in our media, in our government, in our housing, in our hiring practices, in our college admissions: White lives definitely matter. An important statistic came up involving the death of Trayvon Martin: The race of the perpetrator is less important than the race of the victim. While people in favor of the death penalty argue that it's a deterrent, this deterrence is almost never achieved when the victim is not white.

How messed up is that?

On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of murdered police die at the hands of white men. But we don't see deadly force used against people that look like me. I haven't been accosted by a police officer in a number of years (another privilege afforded to me by my pallid complexion), but when I was, I wasn't concerned that a police officer would mistake me reaching for my license or registration as a threat to him. Whereas simply being Black in public can be fatal if the police get involved, even for children (see Tamir Rice, Jordan Edwards, and too many others).

But when it comes to positively impacting these communities that we write off as "dangerous," nothing is done. Chicago is frequently used as a political football, but the truth is when they decided to cut their budget, they didn't cut youth programs in the white parts of their very, very segregated city. All the cuts targeted places where that stuff actually can make a life-or-death difference. 

As a pale-skinned boy from Topeka, I'm guilty of being embittered by some choices my parents made that limited my opportunities later in life. But I had opportunities, and my parents could have made different choices. If I'd grown up with dark skin in one of those parts of Chicago? I'd never have had the opportunity to discover any of the gifts that I do have. People would have been less likely to take a chance on me. There would have been no route up, only possible avenues for survival. And then sixty million judgmental voices decrying what I had to do to get by.

It's all so messed up. And it's all fixable, if we decide to help instead of judge. And the first step is to acknowledge that, yes, Black lives DO matter. And "all lives matter" is not an acknowledgment, it's a rejoinder meant to diminish the fact that society doesn't actually care about violence against Black people.
Ash McGonigal 6 months ago
I got off on a rant, but I appreciate your words, Mr. Masters. It's my belief that there's a long way to go to live up to our aspirational founding words that "all men are created equal," and I salute your efforts on that front.
Floyd Lee 6 months ago
Well, there's certainly nothing wrong with raising money to pay the bail of women who simply cannot afford bail.  You are correct:  that is a Mother's Day gift, and the Black Lives Matter organization deserves kudos for it.

Meanwhile, the FBI has released an internal report about our nation's police situation, which -- let's be honest -- has been very negatively affected by Black Lives Matter. 

I am a solid believer in community policing efforts, but some of the Black Lives Matter leaders really should have been held legally accountable, for law enforcement officers of ALL races getting injured, shot at, taunted, threatened, and of course outright murdered.  
No apologies, no taking responsibility, for any of it.

I have previously commented that some of the BLM supporters are okay, and some are seriously not okay.  Topeka has actually seen public examples of both kinds of BLM supporters.   

Looks like Brock has come in contact with one of the okay ones, and that's cool.  Just don't forget that the OTHERS are still out there too. 
"All Lives Really Do Matter."
Kitty Persson 6 months ago
Something worth giving thought to: