You Wrote It
We asked for reform, not a performance
When we protest for health care reform, they expand the color of Band-Aids to express solidarity. When we scream to stop killing us, they paint a street with the phrase Black Lives Matter. Why is the advocation of Black lives being condensed to minor and subliminal acts which do not propel real change within our community?
Although these gestures may appear pleasing to the eyes of some communities, they are contributing to a society that perpetuates a cycle of systemic oppression. These actions do not directly contribute to the progress of Black individuals within our society.
If Black lives matter, why are Black businesses, which represent a sense of belonging and tradition for countless individuals in Black communities, being destroyed only to be replaced with corporate offices and modern apartment complexes? If Black lives matter, why isn’t there a single Black individual in your boardroom? If Black lives matter, why are you supporting laws which will disproportionately harm Blacks in communities? If Black lives matter, why are Black women dying at a higher rate during childbirth? If Black lives matter, why do voter suppression laws strategically target Black communities? If Black lives matter, why is your staff taking Juneteenth off—but there isn’t a single Black individual in your office? Oh yes, because Black lives only matter as an aesthetic to show concern with the convenience of removing yourself from the responsibility of creating true change by creating or supporting policies that will lead to the progression of Black communities.
We live in a time where remaining silent is the new facade of racism. Excuse me, if my community is not cheering for the acts of solidarity that many individuals and corporations have been showcasing. Witnessing these acts creates inner turbulence because for us this is not an issue in which we can confine to a street painting, an Instagram post or a one-time donation while hoping to return to normalcy. The normalcy in which you are trying to mask has been a permanent reality for us all and we have to witness our allies slowly catch up.
Many allies type the phrases #SayHisName, #SayHerName #JusticeforArbery and #GeorgeFloyd for a post, then return to normalcy without any intentional actions to create change.
This is performative activism at its finest. We are tired of the performative gestures. We are asking for real, fundamental changes to help our communities. We want long-lasting change that we will see for future generations. We want them to live in a society, that when our brothers and sisters bleed, it will not be painted over with just words or plastered on T-shirts. We want to live in a society where when we give birth, we will live to grow old with our children, not die in a hospital bed due to medical racism. We want to live in a society where we do not have to fear whether or not we will make it back home safely. We want to live in a society where we can de-stress within the comfort of our homes without being gunned down by police officers who do not have a search warrant.
Our lives matter. So what will it cost to stop the oppression of my people? We are tired of saying their names. We deserve to hear their names as they are being announced at a graduation ceremony. We deserve to hear their names on the news for opening a new business. We deserve to simply hear their names on a phone call asking them how they are doing. We deserve protection and to live in a society that chooses Black people—not just because it looks great as a national news story or it looks good at your next diversity and inclusion board meeting—but because our lives deserve to be considered with every decision made within this country.