By Fred Mbesi, Contributing Writer

 

Let’s pretend that you are trying to report the theft of your car to the local authorities. Instead of sending help, they tell you that your car should not take precedence over the vehicles of others and that “all vehicles matter.” The fact that everyone cares about their own cars is not as important as the fact that your car has been stolen.

Unless you are a hermit living on a desert planet, you will know of the motto/hashtag “Black Lives Matter.” You will also know that many people have taken up the slogan “All Lives Matter” in a way to combat the “focus” on the African-American community. The same concept of the aforementioned vehicle scenario can be applied to the All Lives Matter phenomenon.

The “All Lives Matter” motto is pointless due to the fact that it is a reiteration of something we already know. Every single person’s life obviously matters, regardless of your gender and ethnicity. That being said, the “Black Lives Matter” motto was created in response to a need. Specific events created the need for this movement to exist; to serve as a reminder. If we are using All Lives Matter to cover up the Black Lives Matter slogan, the issues that the movement is trying to address are being overlooked.

For those unaware, the Black Lives Matter movement saw its origin in 2012 after 17-year old Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman on Feb. 26, 2012. After his trial, Zimmerman was acquitted of the charges. The movement became recognized nationwide for street demonstrations and protests after the deaths of African-Americans Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of white police officers. Followers and supporters of the movement use tactics such as hashtag activism, die-ins, and political slogans referencing past African-American discrimination cases.

Alicia Garza, the founder of the movement, refers to it as acknowledging “the ways in which black people are deprived of our basic human rights; an acknowledgement that black poverty and genocide is state violence.” Garza goes onto say the fact that the lives of mainly black people exist within these conditions is due to state violence.

“I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘black lives matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter,” said President Barack Obama during a criminal justice panel. “What they were suggesting was, there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”

Looking at it from a Christian perspective, we should believe that God created our African-American brothers and sisters. We all bear His image and we all equally deserve to feel safe and respected. We are called to show love towards all people. John 13:34 specifically states that “as [God] has loved [us], so [we] must love one another.”

As Christians, we cannot love one another while downplaying the struggle that the African-American community is currently undergoing. These racial barriers need to be broken down so we can all live in a loving and caring community, accepting all kinds of people. If we claim that all lives matter but ignore the African-American struggle, we are not living true to God’s calling.