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Join the movement

| Friday, January 22, 2016

To Br. Bill Mewes,

I’m glad to hear you agree that black lives matter. That such a statement could be controversial is one of the more depressing realities of today. Despite your agreement, you take issue with the efforts of the movement, particularly the focus on police brutality. Unfortunately, the equivalencies you drew are false and, frankly, patronizing.

For example, your claim that protestors did not seem to worry about black-on-black killings is an insult to the social workers, activists, teachers and others working daily to stop violence and murder. And while there may be more black people killed by black people than by police, that misrepresents the problem. Simply put, people tend to murder their neighbors, and people tend to live amongst those of the same race. Yet no news anchor would summon a prominent white politician and demand to know what they are doing about the violence in their community.

Furthermore, murder is a heinous crime, and perpetrators are typically prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The growing #BlackLivesMatter movement is protesting officers of the law abusing their power to commit the same heinous acts they are meant to prevent. And not only are police officers frequently committing crimes against black people, but oftentimes they get away with it. We should expect and demand more from our police and our legal system.

While you may disagree with abortion, as many do, you must recognize that black women who have them are acting of their own volition. No political institution or governing body is forcing the procedure upon them. Again, you conflated an individual act with the widespread failure of a system that should be better.

Opal Tometi, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, gave a powerful call to action in her speech here this week. “My basic advice is to do the work,” she said. “We need everybody on deck for this time in our history.” Black activists and others are working tirelessly to bring about long overdue change and to affirm that black lives matter. Some of the most inspiring people I have ever met are on this campus right now, working for change. As members of the Notre Dame community, as Americans and as human beings, we all have work to do. I hope that next time you criticize the movement, you do it from the inside looking out, not from the outside looking down.

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Jack Riedy

Jack Riedy is from Palatine, Illinois, a town with sixty-seven thousand people and no movie theater.

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