Saturday, March 12, 2016


©Wendell Griffen, 2016
Justice Is a Verb!

The term 'Black Lives Matter" is not, divisive, violent, or disrespectful. Here is how to understand that this is true.
Black Lives Matter affirms the truth that all lives matter in the following way.
All lives matter.
Black people live.
Therefore, Black Lives Matter!
To say “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that only Black Lives Matter.
To say “Black Lives Matter” does not mean Black Lives Matter more than other lives.
To say "Black Lives Matter" means, rather, that Black Lives Matter also!
It is important to affirm that Black Lives Matter because U.S. history shows how official threats, abuses, and destruction of black lives have occurred often, systematically, and inexcusably.
The history of lynch mobs require that we affirm that Black Lives Matter!
Hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan require that we affirm "Black Lives Matter!"
250 years of un-remedied, slavery and another century of legalized segregation justify that we remind ourselves that "Black Lives Matter!"
Police brutality, extra-judicial executions of unarmed black people, and the terrorism of racial profiling require that we declare that Black Lives Matter!
The violence of voter suppression and intimidation from 1870 (when the 15th Amendment was adopted to the U.S. Constitution) until now requires that we insist that Black Lives Matter!
Mass incarceration and racial disparities in criminal justice require that we declare that Black Lives Matter!
Efforts to de-fund public education requires that we say Black Lives Mattter.
The environmental racism demonstrated by lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint, Michigan compels us to protest that Black Lives Matter!
People who say all lives matter must also say Black Lives Matter! Otherwise, they do not truly believe that "all lives matter." Unless Black Lives Matter, any claim that "all lives matter" means that one is unwilling to include, respect, and defend Black Lives when one asserts that "all lives matter."
Now try it. Black Lives Matter because all lives matter. All lives matter so Black Lives Matter.
If you are still having trouble with the concept you don't have a problem with grammar. You have a problem with justice.
That isn't a problem caused by the BLM movement.
That's a problem based in you.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Arkansas Official Bans Sale of Black Lives Matter T-Shirt from State-operated black culture gift shop

I received a report earlier today [March 10, 2016] that apparel bearing the slogan "Black Lives Matter" has been ordered removed from sale at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center operated by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After receiving that report, I spoke with Rebecca Burkes, Deputy Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Ms. Burkes initially said she would need to make an inquiry into my concern. When I told her that I knew that "Black Lives Matter" labeled apparel had been ordered removed from the MTCC at her direction, Ms. Burke said that she is emphasizing that all Arkansas Heritage gift stores review their inventory and make sure that the inventory is "compatible with the mission" of the store.
I asked Ms. Burkes to explain how Black Lives Matter labeled apparel would be incompatible with the mission of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. I also confronted her with my knowledge that she personally ordered Black Lives Matter apparel to be removed. She invited me to make an appointment to discuss my concern with the MTCC Advisory Council.
As I mentioned to Ms. Burke, there is no doubt that Civil War memorabilia and apparel, including apparel related to the Confederacy, is stocked at the Pea Ridge Battle Field gift shop. It is unacceptable that apparel bearing the Black Lives Matter slogan has been removed from the gift shop operated by the Department of Arkansas Heritage dedicated to black culture.
Ms. Burke also told me that a lot of the Black Lives Matter T-shirts have been sold, but that only a few were left, as if that justified removing them and banning the item from being restocked. Then she tried to talk with me about a coming exhibit, as if my concern about her decision could be mollified by attending it.
I urge everyone to contact the Department of Arkansas Heritage at (501) 324-9162 and the office of Governor Asa Hutchinson at (501) 682-2345. Please protest the deliberate and culturally destructive decision to remove and ban Black Lives Matter apparel from being stocked and sold at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center gift shop.
Arkansas is the state of the Elaine Race Massacre, the Little Rock Central High Crisis, and countless other vicious and outrageous conduct against black people. Black Lives Matter! State officials need to know we understand this truth, will insist on it being respected, and will challenge this state employee and her department to respect it.
Black Lives Matter!