Do Black lives matter to Black people? This the question that is often asked in the wake of another young life being lost to The Trap. We grow weary of seeing the crying women grieving over their children’s lives being cut short! We grow angry over the perceived lack of value for life being demonstrated by the people in the community. We plead with them to put the guns down. We implore them to stop the violence and give up the street life. Do Black lives truly matter to Black people? They obviously don’t according to many a Conservative, Black entertainer, or purveyor of everything Black culture. We only march when a White cop shoots a Black kid, but never perpetrator of crimes against each other. I cringe when i hear such rhetoric. it is steeped in falsehoods and a one track mindset that only helps to spread misinformation! Ask a mother from the South Side if they aren’t out protesting the violence! Ask the numerous clergy in the community that are out in Chicago, Baltimore, D.C., and countless other places marching to stop the violence. Ask the numerous Black people across the world working to do grassroots initiatives to help give the youth in those communities another outlet besides violence. Then ask yourself, “why is no one talking about the Brown on Brown crime?”. I doubt every single shooting in the City was by Black people! That’s besides the point though. Let’s get to the real heart of the issue.

Ray Lewis and others of his ilk say that the Black Lives Matter movement is fraudulent. They aren’t addressing real issues that plague the community. Many Black people feel that it isn’t even a legit Black movement! Far be it for me to try to get inside the minds of those people. One primary issue that keeps reoccurring is the misunderstanding of what BLM really is! It is not just a twitter hashtag. It certainly is not a hate group! It is a political movement! That is why they are talking with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The Black Lives Matter movement is about gaining a political foothold. It was something that Dr. King did when he was alive. You can question some BLM’s methods, but you can’t question the intent! Exercising political muscle and political influence is something that is crucial! Please understand that Black Lives Matter is political! The goal should be (and I believe that it is) to create fair opportunities so that we can have candidates that stand for issues that affect our community! It is about ensuring that we will get fair taxation and representation. It’s stated goal is to stop the discursive hiring and admission practices. To give our communities the ability to police themselves and provides resources that help nurture our best and brightest! It is about advocating for reparations! It is not just about making cops lives miserable!

What Lewis, RZA, and others fail to realize is that they are conflating two separate issues when saying “Why is it only when a White man kills a Black man we protest. But when a Black man kills another Black man, we remain silent?” For starters, you mean to tell me that no one is protesting and saying anything about the violence? What have all these assemblies at the local churches or community centers been about? Also, the issue of the police (mostly white) are shooting unarmed Black men is a separate problem of police brutality! It si not just limited to Black people either. Remember the guy on tape that was shot in Washington State? The kid in Utah? The white boy who was murdered over some weed? None of them were Black! You could argue that none of the shootings were justified! The issue is police misconduct and racial profiling that has far reaching effects on the communities they are supposed to be protecting. What does marching against the coverup of LaQuan McDonald’s murder by Chicago PD have to do with a guy getting shot in Chatham over a dispute at a club (Most people fight at bars/clubs. Especially with liquid courage involved)? One is a tragic situation that speaks to the depravity that exists in communities of all colors. The other speaks to an attempted cover up of a police shooting and the idea that our police officials are sworn to serve and protect our community. Deadly force is supposed to be a last resort. Not the first recourse. Do we not demand more from our military and police officers? Do we not expect them to uphold the law over most others? The same goes for our politicians. So us marching against police racial profiling that adversely affects Blacks, Latinos, and the poor in general, fills up our prisons, prevents them from ever rehabilitating and providing for themselves or their families is worth marching over! Yes we must stop the violence. Yes we need to take control of our mediums and demand better in our homes and in our communities. But part of that is gaining political power. How can we do that if we don’t establish a foothold in the matrix? We have to infiltrate before we can destroy.

I have family that is from the hood. Trust me when I tell you that they are beyond fed up with the violence. Let me also say that the gangs have gone counter to the principles that they were founded on, which was to protect the community from harm. The so-called War on Drugs has destroyed millions of lives! Money has become more important than people’s lives. If we stop the drugs, if we put real jobs in the communities and fix the schools, then we can curb a lot of this violence in our communities. I won’t waste time calling Ray Lewis a coon. He doesn’t know who I am and it’s counterproductive. We both want the same thing in the end: to better the Black community and make the world a better place. Stopping the violence involves more than putting teh guns down. It involves infrastructural changes taht will take years. It involves schools that aren’t covered in mold. It involves living conditions that don’t put you on edge everyday. It involves real hope and change. There are grassroots initiatives in the streets that are working to do just what I said. They can do that work while the Black Lives Matter movement exercises it’s political muscle. We have to continue the work that was started in the 60’s. We can’t breathe a sigh of relief the way we did in the 70’s. The job is not over. Black lives absolutely matter to Black people. Worldwide. Let’s act like it and not attack each other from within!