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Black Lives Have Always Mattered and So Has Your Silence

“People have got to get together and work together. I’m tired of the kind of oppression that White people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict.” -Fannie Lou Hamer

Black Lives Matter is a trending topic right now but this isn’t a trend for us. We can’t just move on to the next trend once the momentum has shifted. We have to live in these Black bodies without reprieve. And don’t get me wrong, we love being in these Black bodies! We know who we are; regardless of what the world tries to tell us, all while stealing, looting, & appropriating everything that embodies blackness…from our lips to our colloquialisms. 

But you—you’ve been silent about our fight to exist. You’ve had the luxury to just stand there and watch…and perhaps feel bad about it. You’ve found justification in questions like, “but why did he run?” You have feigned ignorance long enough. 

We are still going to need you (hell, we’ve always needed you). Who doesn’t need an ally—a co-conspirator in times of war? Yes, this is war for us…a constant battle, make no mistake about it. Every day is a fight to exist when you’re Black in America. Can you imagine waking up everyday and along with everything else you have to do, you also have to validate and affirm your very existence? In the boardroom, behind the desk, on the bus stop, at the corner store where we spend money daily, walking down the street, in the classroom, getting some air with your family at the park, jogging, hustling, sitting, standing, driving, talking, breathing… 

We never get a break from this reality. We don’t get to change the hashtags. So, when the next news topic comes roaring in, now, like us, you can’t just move on.

You will never be able to be silent about White privilege and/or racism ever again. That is one of the social shifts that is so pivotal in this moment. You are finally being held accountable for your silent compliance. You can’t run from the call—you can’t ignore what you have always known to be a violation of our basic human rights and then say you are not a racist—not anymore. We will not allow it. We’ve had enough of your silence while you invite us over to have dinner at your table. You are either doing anti-racist work or you are a racist.

Our lives matter whether we are marching or trending. So, find the book recommendation lists, get to reading. Listen to your Black friends, colleagues, associates, and those who are impacted by systemic racism everyday. Learn about anti-racist work and how to be an anti-racist warrior everyday,  because the fight for justice didn’t just begin in 2020, and it is far from over. And your silence is no longer acceptable.

-Verde Arzu