Black Lives Matter to Black People

Black Lives Matter to Black People
By the Reverend James C. Simmons, Senior Pastor of Baber African Methodist Episcopal Church and Chairman of Rise Up Rochester, Incorporated

On Thursday, August 20, 2015, the precious blood of Raekwon Manigault, Jonah Barley, and Johnny Johnson was spilled in our streets and four others were wounded in a cowardly drive-by shooting. Because the seven victims are black and the assailant is presumed to be black, numerous people have since commented that black people must learn how to love themselves and take personal responsibility for our community’s condition; as if black behavior is worse than the behavior of other races or black people only care when crime is white-on-black.

Each week rallies, marches, cookouts and prayer circles that protest violence, encourage persons to report crimes and build community are held in the City of Rochester because black people care about our community. Each week community organizations, nonprofits and churches mentor children, volunteer in schools, distribute supplies and preach self-determination and pride because black people care about our community. Rise Up and Roc the Peace Fest, Yolo’s Stop the Violence walks, Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament, multiple weekly prayer circles and other events are held because black people care about our community just as much as other races. Black lives do matter to black people.

Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2013 Uniform Crime Report indicates that 83% of white people were killed by other white people (white-on-white crime)? Did you know that numerous studies state that poverty and economics influence crime (not race)? Did you know that most crime is segregated because our communities are segregated? In other words each race, not just black people as media and commentators often spotlight, must mobilize in order to address crime. Each race must teach our children to “love themselves.” Each race must work to make the world a better place.

Black lives do matter to black people. Matter-of-fact, black lives matter so much to black people that numerous people work each week to empower our community to establish and maintain a nonviolent culture (more often than not without press coverage). Black lives matter so much to black people that numerous people work each week to address institutions and policies that discriminate against and dehumanize black life. Black lives matter so much to black people numerous black people work to address institutional racism and address intra-communal violence at the same time.

Yes, black lives do matter to black people.