Change, Involvement, and the Black Lives Matter Movement
by Darren Calhoun
I feel like people (in general) need to know that the liberation we seek is NOT to become the new oppressors.
Some are working to make change within the system, some are calling for the abolition of oppressive systems and institutions. While both are about liberation, the means aren’t exactly the same and this confuses people about our message—especially when they see something said or done that looks disrespectful of the institutions that exist.
It’s almost impossible to get an accurate picture of a grassroots movement from mainstream media. Most of this will be slandered and won’t make sense until you show up and spend some time at a place like Freedom Square—which seeks to derail a new Blue Lives ordinance and abolish the current institution of police in favor of community-based accountability and investment. You have to see what people are doing and saying up close. Sound bites and YouTube videos can’t show it all.
There isn’t an example of liberation that didn’t disrupt the current system of its time—sometimes violently and even when non-violence was practiced by those who sought change. Change has never been welcomed—no matter how nicely, thoughtfully, or “appropriately” it’s sought.
This movement for black lives (and for the lives of all people of color) requires one to find their own voice and place within it. There won’t be figureheads to simply stand behind and echo. That being said, your engagement doesn’t have to echo someone’s words or actions that you disagree with or don’t understand. If you don’t like how they said it, you should say it differently. Saying and doing something imperfectly is better than doing nothing while waiting for someone to say and do it perfectly first. Learn more about the Movement for Black Lives long-term goals by visiting M4BL.org.
Change involves and impacts everyone—be part of shaping that change. Show up. Speak up. Make it happen.
Lastly, let love lead. I think if we prioritize love in the change that we seek we can balance out the tensions and difficulty of transition. Many people are afraid of being left behind or left out…Love answers that fear by caring for everyone. Fear says that there’s not enough so I must amass all that I can for myself. Love says that there’s enough for everyone if we only take what we need.
These are my thoughts…I hope they inspire thoughts of your own that lead to actions you believe in. I love you all!