VOICES FROM THE STREETS: These lives matter, too

On the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being gunned down in Ferguson, a friend asked me if I was going to the protest in Harvard Square.

I somewhat reluctantly said no.

When asked why, I didn’t want to get into it. I simply said I was tired and really needed to go home. I just did not feel like getting into the reasons why and then trying to defend it.

But I will share my reasons with you. Judge me as you will. First of all, to all those idiots who love to say to me you’re not standing up for your race, give it a rest. I stand up for my people all the time. I’ve been to my share of rallies and protests, and for the record, I don’t always attend protests for the homeless either.

Seeing black people murdered, harassed, bullied and threatened by the police for no other reason than the color of our skin is sickening on so many levels. But others are murdered by the police as well, other races, including white people.Yes our people are targeted more than any other, but don’t forget, there are other victims. It’s gotten to the point that every time when a newscast opens with, “another black man has been shot by…” I change the channel or just keep scrolling down.

I feel powerless, just the same way I feel sometimes about homelessness.

But that’s not the reason I don’t attend rallies or protests. I feel like sometimes people go to these things because they’re trendy, because they want to be in the know about what’s trending, “Hey honey, there’s a BLM event tonight, wanna go?”

Seriously, how many people that go to these protests actually give a damn about us? How many so-called civil rights leaders are really there so they can hopefully end up on CNN? Think about that.

Whether you want to admit it or not, people want to see and be seen. Think not? I personally know people that will go to a Black Lives Matter event but won’t go to support a Homeless Bill of Rights. Why no television cameras? Wanna test it out? The next time you and your friends go to a Black Lives Matter protest, ask them to go to a homeless rally at, say, Boston City Hall. Watch how many of them are busy that day.

The other thing that has always bugged me is that many so-called black leaders are front and center when a white cop guns down a black person but are no where to be found as our black youth in all of our major cities gun each other down on a nightly basis. Where’s the outrage, where’s the marches, the passionate speeches and the television cameras? I don’t see anyone being arrested for protesting those that get caught in the crossfire, no one protesting the fact that in some neighborhoods people are afraid to leave their homes, fearing they will get shot while simply going to the corner store for a quart of milk.

Don’t their lives matter?

If Malcolm X, a name that a lot of so-called leaders like to throw around, were alive today would he encourage us to give a damn about our youth killing each other? Wouldn’t he say that if we want the police to stop killing us we need to stop killing ourselves? Only then can we really rally to stop this madness. Then it becomes a real movement and not just a trend that will end when the pretenders find something else to scream and yell about.

But it seems that right now black kids killing each other—like homelessness—doesn’t matter, and those lives should matter too.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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