Which Black Lives Matter?
Updated: Jun 27, 2021
In this most recent wave of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been more discussion about who falls under “black lives.” This list includes women, youth, the elderly, LGBTQ+ members, the disabled, the incarcerated, Muslims, the poor, and so on. However, it would be woefully ignorant of anyone black or otherwise to ignore the striking difference in how certain black lives are cared for as opposed to others.
Although police brutality is a deeply-rooted racial justice issue that directly affects African Americans in this country, the fight for racial justice does not simply end with solving the many problems that law enforcement brings about. There are other threats to black people, such as COVID-19 and the murdering of colored trans women.
COVID-19 affecting minority communities at a larger rate is a matter of racial health inequality. According to Medical News Today, it has been discovered by researchers that while 1 in 5 counties, nationally, is disproportionately black and only represents 35% of the U.S. population, these counties accounted for nearly half of COVID-19 cases and 58% of COVID-19 deaths. Likewise, a study led by Dr. Cary Gross found that African Americans are 3.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white Americans.
These studies and numbers cannot go ignored. People of color are dying from this disease at disproportionate rates, and the American people have to ask themselves why. We must also use the same energy that is given to protest police shootings to protest lack of decent hospitals in the black community. Just as with the next topic, if we are not outraged by the fact that members of the black community are dying, the problem will not get addressed and will continue to grow.
This past month, most of the world celebrated and took part in Pride Month. Pride Month is held in June, because on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall riots began, thus sparking the Gay Rights movement. Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, started this movement. It came as a shock to all when she was found dead on July 6, 1992. To this day, her death remains unsolved. What makes this piece of history so significant is its overwhelming relevance to the present day.
In 2020 alone, at least 21 black transgender women have been shot to death or killed by other violent means. ‘At least’ is the operative term because most of these crimes go unreported or unsolved. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Riah Milton, Brayla Stone, Merci Mack, and Nina Pop are just a few victims of such hate crimes. Homophobia and transphobia are two of the biggest dirty little secrets of the black community.
We have failed to make members of the LGBTQ+ community feel welcomed. We have failed to give them voices when they fall. Meanwhile, we come together for straight and cis African Americans. These women had voices, loved ones, and lives that mattered. The next time you hear someone say “Black Lives Matter,” be sure that they are including all black lives, not just the ones that matter to them.