It is time to speak. It is past time to speak. Silence has been betrayal for too long.

We join the movement in this small way and seek other ways to show solidarity. We are learners, as most of us are white, and not authorities on race issues. We do not wish to speak down from a position of privilege but to look up and learn from a place of relative ignorance.

Why “Black Lives Matter”?

This question, in my experience, comes from white people. Why not say “all lives matter”?

I need to be frank about this: In our culture and by people of a particular mindset, “All Lives Matter” has been used as a counter to the BLM movement, to suffocate the cries of injustice.

In this form, “all lives matter” comes across as a naïve and ignorant platitude spoken by people who have the privilege of not really having to deal with racism in their ordinary lives. 

At worst, “all lives matter” has been a denial of the cry of the oppressed and an ugly, underhanded way of subtly accusing them of being the ones stirring up racial division.

Black Lives Matter is the true form of All Lives Matter in our present context. Because they are not and have not been mattering. That is the point.

At the BLM rally in Albuquerque last evening (June 7), I heard a speaker say, “Of course we believe all lives matter, but right now it needs to be Black Lives Matter.”

What about riots?

I will simply agree with MLK that while riots are condemned, ultimately, they are the voice of the unheard. And I will also say that white people, such as myself, cannot just quote MLK and think we have reconciled the issue.

If you want riots to end, let us begin to hear those voices. Let us make the real-life changes that recognize the value of black lives. Let us acknowledge that no real progress has been made in more than 50 years regarding wealth inequality. Let us learn about mass incarceration, which is blatantly racist, as well as the school-to-prison pipeline, also deeply racist.

White Fragility

Let’s not be so fragile about it. We can admit privilege without that being a denial of the suffering that we too have endured. Yes, poor white populations suffer some of the same injustices. This should create solidarity, not further division!

We can admit that the racism must be somewhere because we see its effects, and maybe, just maybe, it is in us.

“When you are used to 100%, 98% feels like oppression.” I heard a wise white woman say that today about white fragility. Can we look at these difficult truths without becoming so defensive?

We can admit that tranquility and the status quo have been good for us, by and large, and we have a vested interest in preserving them, even at the expense of justice. And we can have the courage to see just how evil this is.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:9b-10 (NIV)

We, the members of woodsEnd concur with the above statement written by our Pastor, Bryan Hackett. We sign our names here as testimony of our solidarity:

Christine Hackett

David and Tisha Anderson

Gary and Sheryl Cerveny

Kathy Godec

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