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Commentary: Why you shouldn't respond to Black Lives Matter with 'all lives matter'

It's the topic of discussion not just over the past few days, but the past few years.

We’ve been hearing it for the past week: Black Lives Matter.

But, it's not a new phrase. It's a human rights movement that goes back years and is a cry and a plea to stop violence and racism towards the black community.

Many have seen that cry and responded with "all lives matter," a dividing response in a time that’s already frustrating and hurtful.

The Black Lives Matter movement emerged in 2012 when an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The cry went viral and a movement was sparked when George Zimmerman was acquitted after shooting and killing Trayvon.

Two years later, Ferguson happened. Michael Brown was shot six times by police, but he was unarmed. This turned the spark of Black Lives Matter into a flame, igniting protests and rage across the nation to bring awareness that blacks aren’t being treated equally.

This is when the "all lives matter" response was born. 

"All lives matter" is not a show of solidarity, but rather more racism and completely oblivious of the movement. This phrase lacks empathy and shows a person is blind to the innocent lives lost, of the families broken by injustice and of the young black boys and girls who are watching our words and actions.

Do all lives matter? Of course, they do. 

But, if all lives matter, why does the NAACP say black Americans are five times more likely to get arrested? Doesn’t seem like ALL lives see justice in this area, right?

And, if all lives matter, why does a study from Harvard say that black employees are less likely to get outstanding promotions at work than white employees?

If all lives matter, why does the Pew Research Center say black households have only 10 cents in wealth for every dollar held by white households?

If all lives matter, why do people stop me in stores asking if I work here or give me threatening looks when I eat at a nice restaurant or stay at a fancy hotel?

These are the cries of voices trying to be heard. And, "all lives matter" ignores the deep-rooted racial divide we have in this country.

Ignoring Black Lives Matter means you have the privilege to ignore the problem. 

I and the other 47.8 million African Americans in this country don’t get that privilege. 

That’s why Black Lives Matter.

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