Why Black Lives Matter & What You Can Do

Why Black Lives Matter & What You Can Do

I’ve made a career out of writing for the past eight years—providing people with fun, witty skin care reviews, product descriptions, and musings on beauty. I’ve always believed that my strong suit was taking the everyday beauty experience and elevating it by making it fun and relatable. But there’s no easy way to write what I want to say today.

The truth is, I’m tired. Exhausted. Every day for the past week I’ve woken up with a feeling of dread, anxiety, and nausea. And it only amplifies as I scroll through social media and see the constant barrage of videos of police brutality, memorial posts for those murdered by the police, videos and tips on how to protest and what to do if you’re arrested/tear gassed/beaten by the police, posts of fake solidarity, messages from people asking “how I’m doing.”  It’s exhausting.

It’s exhausting because it doesn’t have to be this way. Black Lives Matter. It’s such a simple phrase—no one is suggesting that other lives don’t matter. No one is suggesting that Black lives are the only ones that matter. It only means that Black people want to be treated equally—we want our lives to matter just as much as white people in this country. Literally, just MATTER as much as white people (let that sink in). And yet … and yet.

Black Lives Matter. No one is suggesting that other lives don’t matter or that Black lives are the only ones that matter. It only means that Black people want our lives to matter just as much as white people in this country. 

The fact that people can take issue with the phrase Black Lives Matter literally makes me tear up every time I think about it. The fact that some people can look at me, or my sisters, my beautiful nieces, my 74-year-old dad and 71-year-old mom, my Black friends, my fellow Black Americans and think that our lives are not worth protesting for, fighting for, creating equality for, makes me so deeply sad that I don’t quite have the words to express it. And I have to experience this every day of my life. I’m not afforded the opportunity to “learn” about racism through books, podcasts, or TV documentaries. It’s my all day, everyday experience.

I have to make sure to have my order pulled up on my phone and ID on me when I pick up my Starbucks order because I don’t want people to think I’m stealing it.

When I drive home to Alabama to visit my family, there are certain cities I don’t stop in for gas because they are known to have major KKK activity.

I’m constantly followed in stores, especially high-end ones.

I’m terrified of having children because the maternal death rate for Black women in America is 3.2 times higher than white women, thanks to a combination of institutional racism in the healthcare system and society at large.

And I could go on and on and on and on and on.

I have to experience this every day of my life. I’m not afforded the opportunity to “learn” about racism through books, podcasts, or TV documentaries. It’s my all day, everyday experience.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can fight for change. You can use your voice to demand that Black Lives Matter.

Change starts by asking for accountability. Change starts by putting money into the Black community. Change starts by calling out your friends and family on their racist behavior. Change starts by listening to your Black coworkers. Change starts by buying from businesses and corporations who don’t just post a black square but have actual, tangible plans to help fight racism in this country. Change starts by hiring more Black women in leadership roles. Change starts by hiring more Black people PERIOD. Change starts by speaking up and speaking out.

When all the smoke clears and the dust settles, what side of history do you want to be on?

Black Lives Matter. Today, and always.

 

Breonna Taylor

 

If you want to make a difference today, please consider reading about Breonna Taylor. Breonna was a 27-year-old Black EMT who was shot eight times by the police in her apartment as she slept. Black women who are murdered by the police do not receive the same type of attention in the media, and her murderers have not been charged. You can sign a petition here, calling for justice in her murder. You can donate to her family. You can go to this website to send a letter or email to the mayor of Louisville demanding that her murderers be brought to justice.

 

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