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Dear White Friends

Dear White Friends, This will be the first of a series of letters address to White and Black friends. My next letter will be addressed to my Black friends and will address the crime that occurs in the Black community. You may be thinking, “That’s where you should have started.” I get that… I concur that the crime done in our own community far outweighs the lives being taken by police officers. With that being said, today I would still like to talk about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign with my White friends. Please receive this as a peaceful conversation starter. So I welcome dialogue! This is not a shot at the White community, it’s not the race card again, and it’s not a letter written with the intentions of causing more division. This is a letter written out of a pure heart, with the hopes of bringing complete clarity to some of my friends and maybe others. We obviously see the rise in black lives being taken over the last 20 years, but in the most recent years, there has been a huge influx in black lives being taken by other black people and white police officers. In both cases, #BlackLivesMatter fits… When you reply to this campaign with #AllLivesMatter, you are implying that #BlackLivesDontMatter. When America finds it pertinent to help one country, there isn’t an uprise about helping all countries in need. The reality is that America sees a need in a specific country or nation, and we all see that need and accept their decision to respond. In this case, there is not another race in America that has been losing lives at such a rapid pace. Would you agree? With that being said, why do you have a sense of urgency to fight this campaign. Don’t #BlackLivesMatter… If they do, why not support the movement? Why is there a need to emphasize all live? All lives are not at the same risk. In one year, almost 7500 black lives were taken. That number doesn’t even include the number of abortions that happen strategically in the black community daily. As a black man, I have always felt like my life was at risk. Do you feel that way? Did you feel like you would not live to see 18 years old? Did you feel like you would not see 21 years old? Do you feel like a person from your community will take your life for a minuscule reason? Do you feel threatened every time you are pulled over by a police officer because you fit the description of some person that supposedly did a crime nearby? Have many of your closest friends been murdered?

The black community is a unique community in that there is not a true sense of historical culture. The school system taught me that my culture started with slavery. Then they taught me how our community was mistreated and abused over hundreds of years. It makes you feel less than, and then people from other races throughout your life treating you like you are less than reiterates that feeling you have always felt. Unfortunately, the black community was targeted years ago. The goal was to divide the black family. Hundreds of years later, the black family is still divided. Hundreds of years ago, dead bodies were found around the black community hung on trees, floating in rivers, beaten to a pulp, and the list goes on. Back then black people’s lives did not matter. Today, they still don’t matter to many people, especially in the black community. I am coming to you as a friend, asking you to begin to have compassion for a community that continues to face hardships, social injustice, inequality, hate from their own community, and self hate because of their own skin. If you can not promote #BlackLivesMatter, that’s okay, but please do not reply with #AllLivesMatter, because there is an undertone that says, #WhiteLivesMatter or #WhatEverOtherRaceDoesIt. The problem with that is that ALL lives are not at risk like black lives. Yesterday, a friend told me about a song called I Can Do Whatever I’m White. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwO7zQFRKI4 I mustered up a laugh as its satirical, but inside it hurt. I don’t believe he meant to hurt me. I know he didn't, but it did. Many of my white friends recognize the inequality that exists and the need to salvage a broken and tattered community of people. I have always said, I am not pro black. I am for all people. Today, I am still for all people, but I recognize a need to encourage the black community that THEIR LIVES MATTER. I am asking my white friends to simply recognize a need and consider being pro black simply because you see the need. That doesn't mean you are anti-white. You are simply acknowledging a need. You are not the blame of the black community, and it’s not your fault. That is so far from the truth, but will you be a part of the solution? We need ALL hands on deck for this one. We need you to show that you believe #AllLivesMatter. Join the movement!