Upon the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson who shot unarmed teenager Mike Brown, the hashtag #blacklivesmatter has reappeared all over social networking sites. The hashtag originally started with the unjust killing of teen Trayvon Martin, and with each new black life unfairly lost, it comes up again. The hashtag is a call to action or reaction against the perpetrators of the crime. However another hashtag that seems to be taking the center of attention away from #blacklivesmatter has appeared. That hashtag is #alllivesmatter.
Although all lives do matter, it is imperative that #alllivesmatter stops and #blacklivesmatter is the main hashtag when discussing events such as what’s happening in Ferguson, the Eric Garner case, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and many more black lives lost. #alllivesmatter takes that attention away. It has already been proven that white lives matter; they have been running the world for centuries. It is now time to acknowledge the power and meaning of black lives. It is not white lives that are left in the middle of the street for hours. It is not white lives that are shot multiple times or are killed without being brought justice. It is not white lives that are the victims of a systematic oppression.
From multiple sources, it has been noted that one black person every twenty-eight hours is killed unjustly by the police. This year alone the following names come to mind: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Rumain Brisbon, and Darrien Hunt. There are probably more, but this is what the media has mainly focused on. All of these men were unarmed and innocent. There was no threat to anyone’s lives. There are also numerous women who go through this as well, so do not think this solely impacts black men. Some of the women include Tanesha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Aiyanna Jones, and Miriam Carey.
Black lives matter because African American people and white people are treated very different in the United States. This is systemic. People of European descent with lighter skin have privilege over descendants of Africa whether they realize it or not. Though today’s generation may have never owned slaves, they still benefit from it. The American Psychological Association (APA) published an article this year that found that white cops over-estimated a black child’s age by up to four and a half years and also found them the least likely to be innocent of committing a crime. Black children are being dehumanized before they even get a fair chance.
As the #blacklivesmatter website states, “This is not a moment, but a movement.” Join the movement. Be in solidarity with black people in this hard time, but do not let your voices overpower theirs.




Published by

Ashley Elizabeth

Ashley Elizabeth (she/her) is a writing consultant, teacher, and poet. Her works have appeared in SWWIM, Rigorous, Mineral Lit, Sante Fe Writer Project, Knights Library, and Kahini Quarterly, among others. In June 2020, Ashley was the featured writer at Drunk Monkeys. She is also the author of the chapbook, you were supposed to be a friend (Nightingale & Sparrow). When Ashley isn't serving as assistant editor at Sundress Publications or working as a member of the Estuary Collective, she habitually posts on Twitter and Instagram (@ae_thepoet). She lives in Baltimore, MD with her partner and their cat. Once COVID is over, they plan on going on a foodie road trip.

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