Hello, dear reader! I’ve been away from the blog again for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that I recently moved to a different neighborhood in Chicago! Moving is always a huge ordeal, but unpacking can be even worse. While I’m extremely happy with my new neighborhood, my new bedroom is half the size of my former one, so I need to do a lot of downsizing; I can’t even unpack all of my boxes because I don’t have anywhere to put the contents!
I’m hoping to have another environmentally and ethically conscious outfit post up soon (“soon” meaning once I have enough space to take out my laptop instead of writing blog posts on my phone or extremely tiny tablet…). In the meantime, in light of recent events, I want to make it clear that I believe black lives matter. This is a simple and valid statement, yet it seems to incite so much anger and hatred. There are so many people who think that stating “black lives matter” is also stating that “black lives matter above all others.” That is simply incorrect and obscures the bigger picture. The black lives matter movement is about bringing awareness to the systemic racism that is plaguing and destroying the lives of a segment of the American population. Breast cancer awareness movements aren’t accused of suggesting that all other cancers don’t matter. So why is the reaction to black lives matter so misdirected? It should be clear that focusing on one issue doesn’t negate all other issues.
I understand that, after the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings, some people may feel as if saying “black lives matter” is detracting from the tragedy of the police officers’ deaths in those two cities. Blue lives certainly matter too. The Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings were awful, tragic, and unjustified. Police should not be targets of violence. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a huge trend of black people being wrongfully wounded or killed by those who are supposed to protect them. Innocent men and women should not be targets of violence either.
I will admit that when your entire existence has been within a problematic system, it can initially be hard to see that there is a problem at all. I have grown up in this system, and I will admit that, even after having done my research and becoming more socially and politically aware, racist and sexist thoughts still (alarmingly) pop into my mind. But this is not something to become defensive about and deny. It is something to humbly acknowledge and then try to change.
The first step toward change is identifying the problem. And there is a huge problem. It’s too huge to reasonably deny anymore. For example, the most recent unjustified shooting (that I know of) was of a black male therapist who was lying on the ground with his hands up and no weapons on his person. He was simply trying to help his autistic patient. How can so many politicians and government officials deny that we are dealing with systemic racism when a black man who is so clearly not posing a threat, who is already prone and surrounded by armed police, is shot at three times by a cop? I am infuriated and saddened and scared right now about the state of my country.
I think the law enforcement officials in this nation need to admit that they need help, whether the help involves a huge overhaul of how police stations are run and a redefinition of what being a cop means, or more body cams and more community engagement. It is obvious that something is broken. Reforms are not an option anymore, they are a necessity.
But these much-needed reforms are less likely to happen without a receptive government. So, as in my post on gun control in America, I implore anyone who is able to vote in the U.S. to please vote on Election Day. Please vote for the candidates who will do what is right and just, who will fight systemic racism and sexism, who will support minorities and immigrants and women and the LGBTQ community, and who will advocate for gun control and police reform. As a bisexual Asian-American woman who is the daughter of immigrants, I have many reasons to be thankful for having been born and raised in the U.S., but I also have a lot of reasons to be scared right now. I want to know that my government is looking out for me and my loved ones as much as it is looking out for the rich, straight, white male. (And, yet, I am still one of the more “lucky” members of a minority group right now because I know that I am not as much of a target for police violence as a black male is.)
In the meantime, while Election Day creeps closer, if you are able to, speak with your money. I’ve already set up a monthly donation to Everytown for Gun Safety. And, after I balance my checkbook this week, I’m going to look into setting up a monthly donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU is rated highly by Charity Navigator and they fight for the freedom and civil rights of all groups. I have considered donating to Black Lives Matter, but I am still debating whether I support the blocking of highways (the sole question I have is whether ambulances can still transport their patients in time). While the ACLU is the best organization I can think of thus far that will do the work I believe is necessary, if you know of any other commendable civil rights or police reform organizations out there, please let me know! And please comment as well if you have any other website/nonprofit/action suggestions for someone who is just starting to become politically aware and active.
That’s all I have for now. I hope you and your loved ones all stay safe, happy, and healthy and that you receive and pass along some love today.
All my love to you.
—S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)