An original essay
by Edward Fagan
Black Lives Matter, as well as National Action Network and Concerned Student 1950, to name a few, share the same goals and objectives as that earlier segment of the black civil rights movement which was led with distinction by prominent activists such as Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others.
Antagonists of Black Lives Matter say that the movement should not use “Black” in its name but instead should use “All”. They also say that the movement should not place emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity.
The Black Lives Matter movement, the antagonists further state, by its name, is suggesting that only black people’s lives matter. The word “Black” in the name, and the movement’s emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity are supposed to be the reasons for demanding the change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity. Could there be other reasons for demanding such a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Who will benefit from a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Will black people, the intended recipients of the outcome of the movement’s messaging and activity, continue to be such recipients following a change of name and a change of emphasis of messaging and activity.
Who, other than blacks, needs the urgent intervention of Black Lives Matter and similar movements to act on their behalf? How dare Africans to even think that their lives matter and that they should view themselves as human and ask to be treated thus!
Some of those same anti civil rights reactionaries, who secretly or openly stand against the civil rights achievements which have resulted from Dr. King’s life, work and martyrdom are conveniently paying lip service to the cause for which he lived and died; and are even seeking his and his movement’s help from the grave in their battle against Black Lives Matter. They are saying that Dr. King and his message are so much more preferable to Black Lives Matter and what they have to say.
Why should Black Lives Matter change their name to an ambiguous one, and pursue an equally ambiguous course of action or no course of action at all? Why should Black Lives Matter address itself to ill founded fears and imaginary problems of its enemies or to problems for which it was not created to solve; problems whose attempted solving by the movement will dissipate its time, energy, money and human resource; and render it unable to serve the blacks who so urgently need its help ? Why should Black Lives Matter abandon the purpose for which it was created, and cease addressing itself to the pervasive problems of police physical and other forms of brutality against, and senseless murder of, black people?
In the United States, there is a reactionary element that fatally practises “black lives do not matter”; simultaneously, that reactionary element also practices “all other lives matter”. The Black Lives Matter movement is an urgent, natural and spontaneous response by black people, to the fatal practices of that reactionary element and seeks, by non-violent means, to bring about an end to those fatal practices against African-American people. This work is a continuation of the work of Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others; and the reactionaries need to understand that Dr. King’s movement and Black Lives Matter, as mentioned above, share the same goals and objectives and that one is the progeny of the other.
By Edward Fagan