Here’s why it is important to say ‘Black Lives Matter’

To the Editor:

Why is it so important to say, “Black Lives Matter”? Don’t all lives matter?
The answer is very simple, because throughout the history of this country Black Lives DID NOT MATTER.  How can this be?
More than 400 years ago, when slavery was brought to the United States, Black Lives Did Not Matter.  When the founding fathers of our country created the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Blacks Lives were counted as 3/5 of a human being – Black Lives Did Not Matter.
Throughout the Jim Crow era, Black Lives Did Not Matter. In segregated schools, Black Lives Did Not Matter. In the military, white troops could not serve under the command of black officers, so Black Lives Did Not Matter.
During World War II, when troop trains were carrying home black soldiers who fought, bled and died for our country, these black soldiers were kicked off trains to allow seats for white German soldiers who fought and killed U.S. troops – so Black Lives Did Not Matter.
When blacks were routinely lynched – Black Lives Did Not Matter.  With Emmett Till, well – Black Lives Did Not Matter.
So I repeat my original question, Why is it so important to say, act on and believe in that “Black Lives Matter” – because it is so important to do so, especially in the trump times in which we are living.
Of course, all lives matter. Did Native American Lives Matter when the U.S. was expanding and heading westward?  Did Jewish Lives Matter during the 1930s in Germany?  Did Chinese and Korean Lives Matter when Japan was engaging in war in the 1930s and 1940s?
So, all lives matter; white lives, blue lives, native American lives, Asian Lives and on and on.
So I say, and I say proudly as a white American “Black Lives Matter” – and to all my fellow citizens, given the history that I have presented, why is it so difficult for you to also say “Black Lives Matter”? Or do they not matter to you?

Gary Segal
Village of Pine Ridge

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