You matter. Your life matters. Regardless of who you are, what you do for a living, where you’re from, or where you’re going, you deserve to be safe from harm.
Deep down, we all feel this. We all understand the need to protect human life. At a level deeper than race, occupation, faith, or political views, our shared humanity binds us together.
This sentiment can be seen in the various hashtags that have arisen in response to both the killings of innocent black people at the hands of police officers, and the brutal murders of innocent police officers who were just doing their jobs.
Underlying the competing hashtags of #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and #AllLivesMatter is a desire to speak to the importance of every life. Different people express that sentiment in different ways, and it often relates to their own life experiences.
These hashtags should not be seen as competing with each other. Each of them has an important truth to share.
Yes, All Lives Matter, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that black people are disproportionately at risk of being killed in interactions with the police. And saying that Black Lives Matter doesn’t take away from the fact that the vast majority of police are good people who go into work every day to protect all of us.
The world seems to be in a very dark place right now. Anger is rising. Division is growing. As I’ve written, the more angry people get, the more mistrust will grow and the higher the likelihood of violence.
It’s easy to find reasons to hate people if we try. People are flawed. People are hypocritical. But we have the ability to think and reason. We can’t accept the killing of innocent black people as a normal occurence, nor can we accept the targeting and murder of police officers – as seen in the Dallas police shootings – as normal.
Rather than looking for reasons to hate eachother, we have look at the good in every message and see what it has in common with our own thoughts and feelings. We can choose unity. If we want to emerge from this dark and divisive time, we have to choose unity.
I believe it’s possible. Look on Twitter. The majority of tweets are positive, emphasizing the idea that at our core, we can and must do better.
Yes, a few vile and stupid people are supporting either the killings of innocent black men at the hands of police, or the brutal murders of police officers just doing their jobs, but those sick voices are not the majority.
If we focus on those voices, we will just get more and more angry. So we need to focus on the good. On those who seek to bring us together. And in our own lives, we can each do our part to express support for everyone’s right to live in safety and security.
Photo credit: Elvert Barnes https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/