Black lives, all lives

The Dorchester Banner encourages readers to share their viewpoints on matters of public interest.

As we were marching down Washington Street in Cambridge during the Black Lives Matter march to Spring Valley laston June 7, an angry, young, white woman leaped onto her front porch and screamed at us, “All lives matter, all lives matter, all lives matter.”
“What do you say to that?” the woman walking next to me asked. I had to think about it.

There is nothing in the Black Lives Matter rhetoric to indicate that the lives of people of other races are not important or even less important than black lives. In fact, some leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement have expressed concern about this frequent comeback. “Maybe we should have said, ‘Black lives matter too,’” some have mused.

A few days later it occurred to me that I could have said, “If all lives matter, why are so many black citizens being killed by some police officers?” If all lives matter, that does not mean that black lives do not matter. It means that they do.
Perhaps I could have said, “Thank you. They do. Including black lives.”

In the past two weeks, we have seen many white protestors as well as blacks being brutalized by the police. During the civil rights movement, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Chaney, both white, were killed along with James Chaney, a young black man.
Yes, all lives do matter, but isn’t it time that black lives became part of “all”?

Susan Olsen
Cambridge