by: Alice Fisher, M.A., M.S.W.
July 18, 2016
Each time I post something that supports the Black Lives Matter movement on my personal Facebook page, I receive too many responses saying all lives matter. Of course all lives matter, but that’s not the point. There is a reason why we need to support Black Lives Matter. As a white mother and grandmother, I do not worry when my children and grandchildren go out the door that they may never come back.
The first time I received that response, steam started coming out of my ears. I was irate. I called a friend who posted one of those replies and said, “Did you look in the mirror this morning? You still have white privilege, I assume. Who is targeting you? NOBODY!” It is black people who are being targeted, wounded, and killed. Saying that all lives matter completely dilutes the message and the scorching reality of what is happening in America.
As he has for many years, my old friend Michael McPhearson* responded in a different and powerful way. Michael, who taught me everything I know about race and racism, is a black man and ardent social justice activist.
Here is Michael’s take on all lives matter:
White people, many of you need to wake up to the fact that every police killing of an unarmed or clearly not dangerous black person could be you. Black Lives Matter is not only about black people. It is about all people. Why? Because when you defend and protect the freedom and safety of black people in the U.S., it strengthens the freedom and safety of all people.
When advocating for the oldest and frailest among us, how often have we asserted that when institutions and government policies work for the youngest and oldest among us, they work for everyone. By raising up the most vulnerable of us, we raise up our entire society.
The Radical Age Movement is proud to support Black Lives Matter. It is in the interest of everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, or economic status. As we at Radical Age advocate for age justice, we are advocating for all categories of justice for each and every one of us.
*Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace, a native of Fayetteville, NC, was a field artillery officer of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. His military career includes 6 years of reserve service and 5 years active duty service. On the steering committee of United for Peace & Justice, Michael works as an activist and facilitator to help bring about social and economic justice. He received the 2015 Hershel Walker ‘Peace and Justice’ Award from the Missouri/Kansas Friends of the People’s World as co-chair of the Ferguson Don’t Shoot Coalition.