I went to a Black Lives Matter protest in San Diego, Saturday morning on June 6th; it was organized by an activist and proud LBGTN member Charles Brownie. The protest emphasized peacefulness, and the undercurrent of LBGTN allowed for an intriguing collection of gay, black speakers. The speakers all took turns sharing their stories, from police frisking to racial profiling to spontaneous realizations. “I came out of the closet as a gay man when I was 16, but I came out of the closet as a black man when I was born,” a paraphrased quote from the opening speech.
Diversity of Supporters
Oppression affects all minority communities, and the mixing of the gay and black community for this protest not only attracted an array of people, but was also able to touch upon various social issues. Do not be mistaken, the focus was on Black Lives Matter, yet there were BLM posters that also hosted the Gay Pride Flag. Likewise, there were men and women of Asian, Latin American, European, and African descent. It felt like a meeting of Americans, here to preserve the freedom of the black community for the benefit of all. In line with the theme, the protest touched upon various social issues that congruently plague this country and our world; before the march started, we were reminded to respect the homeless community in San Diego, to not litter to protect the environment, and to record and to hold accountable anyone who attempted to make this protest anything but peaceful.
A Single Focus
When I hear rebuttals to the Black Lives Matter Movement, specifically the argument that All Lives Matter, I hope that such rebukes are spoken in good faith (and not with underlying contempt or racism). However, I wholly agree with having a singular focus on Black lives during this movement. When we put social issues on an even playing field, we fail to account for the trajectory that launches one movement into being. Black Lives Matter experienced the perfect apex of world and community events that catalyzed it onto the main stage; now, the entire world is rallying for its cause. This is a kind of momentum that bringa change, there is clear focus and a large portion of the population in support of that focus. To fracture the movement into various subsections of social issues would only deflate the sails of BLM while never providing enough force to produce change for another movement.
Why This Matters
Again, I hope to take people’s resistance to BLM in the best faith—there are many aggressively racist people out there, but there are still many “unknowing racists”—people who fuel racism through silence and ambivalence. I speak to the latter group— if there is anything you do care about, any social movement, the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement is a time to not only learn about the black community and to become more emphatic, but it is a resounding example of change. It gives hope to future generations that the general public does have a voice and can change the direction of their societies. For too long, the current world environment has felt unchangeable, as though it is going 1,000 miles per hour into a future that only a few people took part in designing. The Black Lives Matter Movement shows that the public can speak up and initiate change. Imagine what could be possible through the policy changes in BLM, what the ripple effects will be, and how contagious this optimism and activism could become?
Your Place in the Movement
If you care about any social issue, there is a place for you in the Black Lives Matters Movement— not to overtake it’s singular focus, but to stand in solidarity with people who are fighting for a better world.