Black Lives Matter

In Politico by Carlissa ShawLeave a Comment

When the black lives matter movement got started I was one of the negros that kept saying stuff like “black folks have more pressing issues to discuss than police brutality.”

I have since changed my tune and here is why.

I always believed that police brutality is a pressing issue. The videos of seeing black bodies murder by the police always shake me to my core. I have done work and will continue to do work around the issue of police brutality. In 2012, I assisted in the effort to reorganize the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board for the city of Memphis. Although, I was doing the work I still 1. Grew up in a urban neighborhood. 2. Was practicing criminal law. So my life view was a little different.

I can remember just a few years ago telling someone that police brutality was not the biggest issue plaguing the black community. Therefore, when I heard the term “black lives matter” I immediately decided that as a people we should look at and tackle the issues that statistically effect people of color in more severe ways. Examples, poverty, criminal justice reform, access to quality education, food desserts, just to name a few.

In my mind “proximity crime” or black on black crime should have been the focus of the black community because statistically more people of color are killed by gun violence than police brutality. In Kanye West’s infamous TMZ rant he mentioned this concept and to that limited point I could identify.


1. Although debatably not the most pressing issues in the black community it is still a major issue that deserves our attention.
2. It is completely unacceptable for the police that are supposed to protect us to killing us.
3. As citizens of these United States the US Constitution protects us from obsessive force. There is no such protection for proximity crime or poverty.
4. There is no “black agenda” that details a plan of action of activism in a specific order.

I have a type A personality and it is extremely difficult for me to admit when I am wrong but being critical of the urgency of the black lives matter movement was dead wrong. As an activist and community leader one should always be willing to review his/herself and grow. I am growing. My beliefs are changing, and will continue to do so. Again, I was wrong.

Thank you to all the organizers and protesters for your sacrifice. To all the people that are now hashtags you can rest. The people are fighting for you. #ripreggiedoucet

To everyone else, do your own work. If education is your issue, fight for education. If crime is your issue, fight crime. The world has enough ills for us all to find our battle and fight like hell.

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