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Author: John Pavlovitz

Those who declare the value of “All Lives Matter” seem to have little regard for so much of it

ALL LIVES MATTER… until someone dies in an ICE detention center and “well, they should have come here legally. ALL LIVES MATTER… until you want a haircut and “COVID-19 only kills old people.” ALL LIVES MATTER… until your neighbor dies of an overdose and “addiction is a choice.” ALL LIVES MATTER… until you find out they are LGBTQ+ and “that’s against my religion.” “ALL LIVES MATTER” when it’s convenient for you, otherwise it sounds like a lie. – Author Unknown White friend, we need to talk. When I joined millions of people in loudly declaring that Black Lives Matter,...

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Protests can encourage imperiled people for a day, votes can save them for a lifetime

As I stood recently inside a glorious mass of humanity moving through the city streets with fists and signs and voices raised, I found my mind wandering. Even as I basked there in the radiant glow of disparate people assembling to celebrate black life and demand its defense, even as I joyfully gorged on the Tweets and photos streaming in from similar gatherings through the country, even as my tear-blurred eyes widened at the scale of the outpouring — I realized it could easily be for not, that it could all be a futile exercise. I looked around at...

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I am a black life: What a Jesus of Color would say to white police

And Jesus walked into the 3rd Precinct, sat down and began to teach them, saying: You have heard it said, “Whatever you do onto the least of these, you do onto me.” I’ve heard you repeat that in your churches and in your Bible studies. I’ve seen it on your social media profiles. I need you to understand what that means: It means that I am a black life. When you slowly suffocate a man to death in the street while he pleads for breath, you’re slowly suffocating me. When you drive your knee into his neck until it...

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How much is a Black Life worth to White America?

White friend, how much is your father worth to you? Your son? Your sister? Your spouse? Your mother? Would they be worth stopping traffic if they were suffocated in the street? Would they be worth a riot, if they were executed with their faces pressed into the pavement while pleading for breath that was denied until there was no breath left? Would they be worth a spontaneous street corner bonfire if every person in power turned their heads away from your mourning? Would they be worth a sustained, full-throated demand for justice if that justice was perpetually denied? Would...

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A Tale of Two Coopers: How White complicity fuels racism

Racism is a prolific killer. We’re seeing that right now. It is entrepreneurial in its malice and it will use whatever means necessary to eliminate those it is threatened by and fearful of. The breadth of its arsenal and the scope of its tactics are staggering. It will execute young black men in the street and it will assassinate their character on social media. It will shoot human beings with guns and it will shoot them with cell phones. It will enact its violence with knees into men’s necks until they cannot breathe, and with calls to the police...

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An unearned privilege: Americans today are wasting their inherited freedom

Freedom is an unearned privilege — and you have it. If you were born here in America you inherited it. It came with your breath and your birth certificate. That freedom actually wasn’t free though — it was quite costly and someone prepaid it on your behalf. You never met them and you’ll likely never know their names. They paid for your freedom in filthy, putrid trenches decades ago and half a world away. They paid it on blackened beachfronts littered with the blood and body parts of strangers. They paid it cold and alone on frozen countrysides, in...

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