To be honest, a year ago I couldn't have cared less about a Black Lives Matter protest taking place in Omaha. I would have rolled my eyes and brushed it off as a bunch of people fighting against a make believe enemy. Today, when I saw the crowd growing at 120th and Center, I knew I had to go.
No, I wasn't out there holding signs or chanting "hands up don't shoot" with the rest. I was simply there to try to understand what people were thinking, what they were feeling. I found the experience to be predictable but nuanced. Yes, some there trying to get the masses fired up, chanting and getting in the way of traffic: predictable. Others, however, seemed happy to just be there supporting whatever they thought they were supporting: nuanced.
It seemed obvious to me that each person had their own individual reason for being on that street corner. There were the hardliners, leading chants and acting tough; supporters, just there to show love to a hurting people; and countless who fell somewhere (or nowhere) in between. I suppose what I'm trying to illustrate is that, while everyone knew this was a Black Lives Matter ______, they'd all fill in that blank with something different. Some would call it a "protest", others a "rally", a "demonstration" or even just an "event."
I'm not sure what to think of it yet. I like that people are coming together, from all races and backgrounds and standing for something they think is good and right. But I couldn't escape this feeling that many of the people standing there actually don't know what they're fighting for and/or against. When people started chanting "hands up don't shoot", I thought: Do they know where this came from? Do they know it was a lie? I think it's safe to say a majority of the people there wouldn't be able to answer yes to both of those questions, which is troubling to me.
If we are going to stand for something, let's make sure we know what we are standing for. Many people have wasted much blood, sweat, and tears... wait, who am I kidding, many have given their lives for causes, which later turned out to be canards. The truth matters: I hope America is looking for it.
Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing