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Thursday, January 19, 2017

BLACK LIVES MATTER TO ME

Back at about the time in my life when I looked something like the photo below, I was playing on the swings in a park in Northern New Jersey with a slightly younger black boy who seemed shy to approach me, but when beckoned, began to have fun on the swings.
     Subsequently a white kid a little older than me showed up with two friends and started  to harass the black. They were telling him to go play in his own neighborhood and were starting to get physical with him. I told the white kids to leave him alone and go find another place to play for now.
     The leader wanted to fight me and so we mixed it up while I warned the other whites to keep out of it and leave my companion alone too. It ended with the three bullies leaving with a threat to come back with reinforcements.
     I took the black boy with me to where some of my relatives were having a picnic. I invited him to join us and he'd be safe at least until he had to go home, which we would drive him to.
     When his antagonists were retreating from out face-down, they were threatening mayhem on both of us and calling me "nigger-lover."  I was proud to bear that title then, and at other times in my life when disagreeable sorts have felt that I earned it.
     I'd do the same today, 70 years later.
     On this day set aside to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, I still claim it and want to remind everyone that the opposite of "Black Lives Matter" is "Black Lives DON'T Matter" and not All, or White, or Blue or Christian Lives DO.
     We're facing an unknown future in our ability as a people to show kindness and respect to everyone...EVERYONE!


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