A Good Home

Black Lives Matter

If you see this headline and feel like retorting, “All Lives Matter”, think twice. The reason Black lives matter is exactly because ALL lives should matter.

I’ve had real difficulty writing posts here this week. On Twitter and Facebook, my usually uplifting posts as a gardener, writer, wife, mother and lover of nature and country life have been replaced by information on how all of us can be allies, instead of silent bystanders on the tragedies taking place in the US. 

Yes. “Taking place.” A Black business owner in his fifties, a friend to local police, was shot by police who fired on protesters this week. 

This violence against Black citizens never seems to end. It never seems to bloody end.  And it frightens me. For America, for the world, and for my own relatives — dozens of relatives who are American.

I’m used to being the soft voice of reason in my family, but I find my anger bubbling up.  I pray, I meditate, and I stroll in the garden. But these days, I don’t find the total peace that my faith and being in such an idyllic place with its woods, stream and flowers usually provide me.  I simply can’t.  

I find myself saying the same words to my American loved ones that I said during the worst of the pandemic: “Stay safe. Stay well”.  But my meaning is different. And perhaps this is a time we all have to become a bit less safe.

Quite frankly, it concerns me for my White American friends and relatives too. I know from your responses over the years that many of my blogger friends are appalled by the treatment of Black people. I know that some of you are committing small acts of courage to fight back against injustice.

There can be no peace as long as Black lives matter less than that of Whites. 

Here in Canada, we sometimes pretend to be immune to what happens in the US. It has never been true. We have our racists too. And the election of your president has emboldened racism and bigotry in our country. The impact is undeniable.

We are not immune. And having so many American relatives and friends, I cannot be immune. Yes, your well-being matters to me too, regardless of your race.

As you can imagine, I cannot afford to be a bystander. I’m a Black woman. My own Black daughter and White son-in-law live in the USA. My sisters, great-aunts and their families. I’m a Black mother, wife, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, niece and in-law to a whole bunch of Americans whom I love. 

As I said on Twitter, I need my non-Black friends to be allies. I know that some people will unfollow me when I ask them to help, when I ask them to not look away. But many of you know my heart and I believe I know yours.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there. Thanks for the good that you have done and will do.

 

 

95 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter”

  1. Thank you, Cynthia. I agree that it is impossible to write – or read – light, happy pieces at this time. I am in the middle of writing on this topic myself. As a white person, all I can do is bleed with grief at the truth of mankind. As a glass-half-full person by nature, these were already trying times. Now the veil has been fully lifted; we must all do all that we can to make sure that deeds, not just words, are carried out in all our countries. You’re dead right, racism is everywhere. ❤️

    1. I hear you, Jane. I cannot believe 2020. But this year so far shows us what happens when problems are left to fester without needed action. and that reminds us to make our voices heard, in whatever ways we can.

    1. Thanks, Franca. Though I don’t feel very wise these days, I hope to return to a better place. There are days when just being Black is an exhausting experience — and I say that from my privileged perch.

  2. Thanks for articulating so eloquently what we are feeling. Anger is alien to me, or it was. It is no longer so. I am angry. The sadness I feel as that video replays and replays in my mind is clothed in the bitter gall of anger.

    1. Thanks, Paula. I have had to stop watching that and any other police brutality videos and even cut down on my reading. Anger, like love, is essential when it propels us to make a positive difference.

  3. Thank you for speaking your mind and heart Cynthia. I am an ally to you and yes black lives matter. These racist acts of violence are abhorrent to me, and I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve always believed that only love can heal people and their pain, hate, fear, etc. For now, I’ll just say that I love you, respect you, and will stand with you. 🙏

    1. Thank you very much, Brad. The good thing about real love is that it propels us to act. Love without action is empty. Silence is not an option. But I know what you mean. I even have a better sense of why some people give up on a loving and peaceful approach and turn to other means. History shows us that it doesn’t happen overnight. But you can only oppress and murder a people for so long.

      1. You are most welcome dear Cynthia. I appreciate you being a voice of calm and wisdom during these challenges. I will do my best to act from love and compassion and hope that enough of us take the higher road to turn the tide. And I’m open to suggestions as to how to help.

  4. Very well said ” If you see this headline and feel like retorting, “All Lives Matter”, think twice. The reason Black lives matter is exactly because ALL lives should matter.”

  5. Thank you, Cynthia, for your heart-felt and important words. I thought of you this past week and wondered what you would say. I wasn’t disappointed. I only hope that the small things I can do in my daily life will be a help. And voting the correct way in November, of course!

  6. We love you, and stand with you, Cynthia. Yes, black lives matter, because all lives matter. I am watching things down here slip back into the early 20th century, and having a hard time comprehending how this is possible. These societal attitudes towards minorities have been there all along, suppressed but smoldering like embers among segments of the population, fanned to flames in recent years by one individual, our current President. I have many questions and no answers. The death toll continues to mount.

    1. Thank you, dear Lavinia. I’m hoping and praying that enough Americans of goodwill can turn the tide (even if they like some of Trump’s policies). The misuse yesterday of the Holy Bible and the Episcopal Church — most of which stands for Jesus’ social justice ministry — was painful to watch.

  7. Count me in!!! Today, I wrote a post about how something in me has cracked because of the latest murder in Minneapolis.I am beside myself, and I have decided to become involved with an organization called the Poor People’s Campaign (https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/) founded by Reverend William Barber. My voice is small, but I will join with others—with you!—in solidarity.

    1. Thank you, Laurie. Our family is shaken too. Our voices in isolation are small but when we join together in our resolve and action, they’re big. Thanks for the link to the Poor People’s Campaign. I just spent some time on their site – they’re doing a good and necessary thing.

  8. With you, Cynthia, we stand in horror at what is happening and what we hear and see in the news. Black lives matter – all lives matter. The fact that the colour of your skin is different from mine does not stop me from sharing a great friendship with you and your lovely family. Stay strong. We love you. 💜💙❤️💚

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, dear Cynthia. As a US citizen still I have lived somewhat safely in Canada for the past 50+ years, away from the appalling mess that has become increasingly evident to our south. I also am worried about my family—both white and those of colour—who still live there, a few of whom still support that fool who thinks like a dictator. And I am appalled, disappointed, saddened and most of all angry too: over 250 years and this is where the American states have come? This is the best they can do? God help us.. I’m sorry that demonstrations are necessary, but I applaud those who risk their lives taking to the streets. Please no more death and injury, looting etc, but I cheer for those taking a stand, for those who try to wake the world up. My tools to help are limited to words, but I will use them as best I can when I can. Thank you, Cynthia.

  10. Cynthia, so well said. I feel the same pain and frustration and too real concern for my black and biracial family and friends in the States . The divisiveness rhetoric coming from leadership there only fans the flames of bigotry and too beyond its borders , We are not immune in Canada . I keep urging that with the pandemic and all that`s happening for us to be the voice of reason in our response but quite understand the frustration and feeling its a time perhaps for us to become a bit less safe

    1. Good to hear from you, Robert. I know your family is in a similar position. Yes, I think we have to be a bit less safe, and mean what we say and do right now. Most of my 100+ American relatives are not online and therefore they will not say anything publicly, but I am and I will.

  11. I understand that feeling of the usual posts, etc. just feel wrong right now. This is too big to not address. I posted today on it because I just can’t imagine another topic more important right now. Thanks for your honesty . . . .

  12. Dear Cynthia, I was one of those people who didn’t completely understand the reason behind the #BlackLivesMatter until I listened to a podcast where a black lady and a white lady talked about racism. They were writing friends of each other already, but I don’t think they ever talked about this topic before. The podcast helped me understand so much more.
    There are a lot of white women who detest racism but don’t know what to do about it. This podcast answers part of this question.
    Here’s the link for any white women who want to listen in on the candid conversation about racism: https://www.moretobe.com/2020/06/conversations-about-race-barb-roose/
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  13. I stand with you, Cynthia. Just this week, I did the same thing and wrote a post unlike my usual cheerful gardening posts. Like you, I thought I might get some unfollows or weird trolls, but people were supportive. We need to stand together. The good thing about most of the demonstrations I have seen is that they are well mixed up with a variety of people. That’s good and bodes well in the long run, I think. I feed people, but that doesn’t create justice, so I’m looking for ways to be active, like Laurie.

  14. What you probably don’t hear much about are all the small things that are done and said out there by people who really are upset about this and have been for a long time. There are more people with you than against you, that I can guarantee. I believe that it isn’t the big things that are going to stop this ignorance, but small things said and done by the common folk in coffee shops, on park benches, and on street corners. Common people correcting wrong thinking; it’s happening every day and everywhere that I go.

  15. “If we just sit this out, our “equanimity” will become indifference, our focus on personal awakening will be revealed as self-absorption, and our seeking of peaceful, mindful moments will become willful avoidance and denial.” I read this in a book that I am reading today! Ironically, It’s called” Time to Stand Up:The Buddha’s life and message through Feminine Eyes.” I am only a few pages in, but I have already pulled so much wisdom from it!! I too am a soft voice in this world, but creating this blog has challenged me to be more mindful and vocal about the areas of life that leave me feeling uncomfortable. For far too long I have felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and I realize it’s probably because I viewed myself as powerless. I am with you Cynthia! Thank you for shining your light! May love and light continue to shine through you!

      1. Some of the same people think there is no such a thing as climate change and have only superficial concern about coVid19. They live on that famous river…de-nail.

  16. I am sure all your blog followers are your allies and sick to the soul at the ignorance, cruelty and inhumanity of racism. There are Black lives Matter demonstrations in London too despite the pandemic. Sending love and support.

    1. Thanks very much, Chloris. It eats at the soul, but every bit of support and encouragement we give each other can help us to stay vigilant and to take an action of our own. We’re past the stage of waiting for others to solve these problems.

  17. Well said Cynthia. Like you, despite the refuge my garden offers me, these days I am sad, angry and exhausted that this struggle is still ongoing. When will it stop? When will all the changes brought about by the efforts of angry citizens and victims, government, policy makers and investigative bodies result in a more equitable society for everyone? You are so right, we have to each do our part. We must stand together, determined to make our collective voices heard over the chaos caused by those who feed into prejudice, injustice and meanness.

    1. I hear you. Well said. I sure hope the momentum can be sustained before the news cycle moves on to the next story. I suspect that goal setting and finding allies to support us in whatever steps we commit to, will help. But my tired brain knows that more is needed.

  18. I am here and an ally. My daughter in Chicago wanted to go out and demonstrate and felt dreadful that she couldn’t because of baby. We (whites) have to be more proactive about racism and, yes, it is here in the UK as well. It is a little different from the American version, but black British men have died in police custody. There are many marriages here across the different races and I had a childhood vision that as soon as we are all sufficiently mixed up prejudice would fade away. This dream is too slow coming and equality education from infancy should now be part of all societies. Maybe policemen should undergo cross-cultural immersion as part of their training. I am struggling here for answers, because the reality is appalling and must change. Thank you for posting this.

    1. Thanks, as always, for thinking deeply about these things, Hilary. I know it’s there in part because I have generations of British relatives too. There are things we can all do and I am compiling a list of specific things. My daughters are leading the way in our family. One is gathering her friends in various sectors to create specific strategies. The other is doing one specific thing each day. First she donated to Black Lives Matter. The next day she bought things online only from Black businesses. Then she approached her friends of various racial and ethnic backgrounds to discuss the issues and found them all willing and eager.

  19. A friend here in Port Hope has a granddaughter who lives in California and who marched in Seattle last night. She’s a med student and fund raised for her birthday this week asking for money she would then donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (minnesotafreedomfund.org) This group that previously operated on a tiny budget has, in the past few days, received twenty million dollars (20,000,000) from all over the world. One of their primary services is to provide bail for people who cannot afford it, and are disproportionately Black. I hope that this surge of generosity that comes from empathy will lead to long overdue change. Something has to happen to overcome the excruciating and horrifying killing of George Floyd.

    1. This is great, Diane. What a good thing for her to do. I think it’s the same fund my daughter is donating to. I wrote a new post today about specific actions we can take – options.

  20. Hey Cynthia, black lives do matter and the world is finally coming to the realisation. I’m white and have been spreading the word to other people of what needs to happen. I love how your also spreading the word! Racism must be hard to deal with and we all need to fight it together. Thanks Cynthia for your guidance.

  21. Thank you for this. It is heartwarming to see the love and unity forming from these much needed conversations. There will always be those that choose to ignore the problem but I appreciate everyone willing to uncomfortably listen and learn. Saying it’s hard to continue to deal with this as an African American is a major understatement. I’m exhausted, I struggle with feelings of hopelessness and honestly I’m beginning to shut down for my own mental health. My faith in Jehovah God’s promises to end wickedness and injustice keep me going (Psalms 37:10,11; Isaiah 42:1-4). I pray God is with us to sustain and strengthen us during this difficult time.

  22. Thank you Cynthia.
    It is so sad.
    Anger, pain and tears are a plenty.
    It is just a new low.
    Thanks for your encouragement.
    Bless you.

    1. Oh, Angela. I’m so sorry that we all have to feel this pain, yet again. But anger can be a great motivator – that I know. We need to feel angry, and we need our non-Black allies to feel angry and be motivated to take action too. I’m glad to see the diversity of the protesters. Clearly, everyone realizes that this is a people problem, not just a ‘Black people problem’.

  23. It always makes me sad when people respond with the phrase ‘all lives matter’, because to me that’s a way of saying that we have no responsibility for this. If all lives mattered the same, there would be no need to single anyone out.

  24. I am so sorry, Cynthia. I am sorry that Black Lives don’t matter as much as white lives to so many people. I am sorry for all the pain and suffering that this has caused, is causing and will cause until Black People get justice and equality. I am sorry that my Black Friends and their families and friends are still having to fight this fight. You have my love, my prayers and my support, my friend. xx

  25. Very well said. Cynthia. Your sentiments echo across the world, people are angry at the injustice, cruelty and unfairness of racism, classism, religious persecution and all the ways we are singled out because we’re different. Each time there’s an outcry the needle moves just a little, hopefully we’ll see a big jump this time.

  26. Saying “All lives matter” is just another way of saying Black lives don’t matter and always aggravates the crap out of me. To me, one of the most important things we Americans can do is get out there and vote, and help insure that everyone – no exclusions – is able to exercise their right to vote. And try and change minds, even if just a little, when we see a crack of light at the door. Be safe, stay strong.

  27. That’s absolutely true. There are also a lot of people who have not experienced the world first hand – they’ve never traveled, nor gone outside their own safe little county, never seen people of color or different nationalities. They then rely on the “news” for what’s going on “out-there.” And depending on the station they choose, we know where they get their views and opinions from.

  28. Cynthia, do you know that your own “Likes” never appear on your site? I get an e-mail that says you liked a comment, but should I come visit, there is never a “Like”, but sometimes a reply.

    1. It’s weird and has been weird since late last year. I don’t get to see new posts from fellow bloggers, even when I unfollow and refollow several times, just to be sure. I’m tired.

  29. Sorry – I had to laugh out loud – at the “I’m tired” comment. I feel the same way sometimes. I’m doing all the things they say; why isn’t it happening like it should? BTW, that following thing happened to me recently, too. I followed in two places – on the lower right corner of the blog itself, and also I got an opportunity somewhere when I liked or commented. (big help, right?) LOL. One of them took.

  30. Thanks for sharing your insight. Interesting to get some perspective from our northern neighbors! We definitely have a lot of work to do in the U.S.

  31. Thank you Cynthia for your soul touching words. How they come to life while envisioning you walk through your paradise garden, but more importantly may the G-d bless you for exercising the courage to come out of your comfort zone to be a voice in the wilderness. As a Newfoundlander it brings me great solace to know that Canadians like yourself are extending their hearts to others in a kind and practical way. ‘One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.’ xoxo

  32. Thank you, Cynthia, – I know this is exceedingly difficult and impossible topic to write. The post has a deep, gratitude and sincere words. I am humbled and applaud of your courage by raising your voice and sharing this post.

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