Fight the Power #blacklivesmatter #ukrainelivesmatter Edition

M. and I are a rare couple. He’s Ukrainian, I’m Black American. There are a lot of differences between us. There is a lot of common ground between us. Obviously, it works since we’ve been together for seven years, five married. We survived two notable miscarriages in one year, a stressful but very uneventful pregnancy with Bear, and trying to conceive our second rainbow baby. We mesh.

We also fight similar struggles and conflicts.

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Coincidentally, we both went through internal conflicts with our respective home bases. Maks had to constantly read news about the Ukrainian conflict via Twitter and other internet sites. Meanwhile, I had to deal with Black men being gunned down and killed on a regular basis just because. To say it wasn’t tense in our household at times would be a lie.

An opposition supporter holds a Ukrainian flag in the center of Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
An opposition supporter holds a Ukrainian flag in the center of Kiev’s Independence Square, the epicenter of the country’s current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country’s grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

In Ukraine, they’re fighting Russia invading the country, which it has successfully done so. Oh, Russia also shot down a commercial airliner with heavy and incriminating evidence but tried to say Ukraine did it. While my husband’s relatives and friends are safe, the conflict is still very much ongoing, despite it not being reported as much in the U.S. news. Over 3,000 deaths have been reported in Ukraine and the death toll will continue to rise until Putin is out of power.

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The comparisons to Stalin are justified. Look up Holodomor. It’s actually worse than the Jewish concentration camps if you can believe it.

We’re about to go to Ukraine next year and yeah…we’re both a little concerned.

You see, the news doesn’t tell you what Ukraine looked like at the height of the conflict…

An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich warned his opponents on Wednesday that he could deploy force against them after what he called their attempt to "seize power" by means of "arson and murder". REUTERS/Olga Yakimovich (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CITYSCAPE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: MOS57
An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich warned his opponents on Wednesday that he could deploy force against them after what he called their attempt to “seize power” by means of “arson and murder”. REUTERS/Olga Yakimovich (UKRAINE – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CITYSCAPE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: MOS57

So do me a favor…whenever someone says they’re pro-Russia, slap the fucking taste out of their mouth.

Pro-activist bae deray.
Pro-activist bae deray.

Three queer women – Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors – founded Black Lives Matter in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin and subsequent trial and exoneration of George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon. The movement has been instrumental in the protests of Michael Brown (Ferguson), Freddie Gray (Baltimore), Ezell Ford (Los Angeles), and Eric Garner (New York), not to mention many other deaths across the country. The movement has also been responsible for a decrease in police shootings and several police departments across the country installing body cameras on the police officers.

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When you hear someone say Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t mean the following:

  1. Black lives ONLY matter.
  2. Black lives matter above everyone else’s.
  3. Don’t support the police. That isn’t and has never been the goal of Black Lives Matter despite what the KKK Fox News loves for you to believe.

What it does mean, however, is this:

Black lives are not as valued as other lives. We are treated differently and unfairly based on the color of our skin. I’m sure you’re aware of the shooting of Walter Scott. He ran from the police only to be gunned down and the cop lied and planted evidence. He’s being held for murder.

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Let’s do a compare and contrast…

Dylann Roof just killed 9 people in cold blood. He was arrested like this:

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Eric Garner was selling cigarettes on the street. He was arrested like this:

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Oh, but it doesn’t just apply to the men. Black women are also treated differently.

Actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested and mouthed off to the cop. She’s still alive.

Sandra Bland was arrested (for resisting arrest, but it’s unclear why she was arrested to begin with) and she mouthed off to the cop. She died a few days later under suspicious circumstances.

I have a ton more evidence but you see where I’m going with this…

I hate it when people erase Black Lives Matter and replace it with All Lives Matter. They’re taking a very serious issue that affects everyone, not just Black people, and trivializing it or in some cases, making fun of it because it’s a cheeky (read: asshole) thing to do (see below picture). Yet, I can ask any person what they think of Black Lives Matter, their first response will probably be, ‘Well, All Lives Matter.’ Give me a fucking break. If All Lives Matter, why is there a current war on women? If All Lives Matter, why is Kim Davis a trending topic? If All Lives Matter, why did we go to Iraq? (The answer isn’t because of 9/11. Those 9/11 terrorists were…wait for it…Saudi Arabian.)

Just a FYI, whenever someone says All Lives Matter, it’s not because they truly believe it but rather, they want those who say Black Lives Matter to shut up. Ask them what they mean when they say All Lives Matter and believe me, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you without contradicting themselves on at least one issue.

This was on the front of a food truck I'd visited. I left them a scathing review on Yelp.
This was on the front of a food truck I’d visited. I left them a scathing review on Yelp.

Speaking of All Lives Matter, where were they when this happened? I can’t recall any protests or demands for justice from the All Lives Matter crew. Can you?

When the Charleston shooting occurred, for the first time in my life, I was scared to leave my house and I don’t think I did for a couple of days. I’m living in a society where I don’t know if any day is my last one because I’m there at the wrong place at the wrong time and a crooked cop decides they want to fuck with me.

Ask yourself…you know a Black person. Yes, you know me. Actually, you know at least two Black people, I count Bear in that. If we died under suspicious circumstances, would you be in the street protesting for us? Or would you make excuses?

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Back in May of this year, we went to our first family protest. My parents were active in the Civil Rights Movement and my mother was very Afrocentric back in the 70’s. She was very proud we went. She’d hoped to see us on the news.

_DSF1814 _DSF1822

In case you’re wondering, I’m not anti-cop. My husband knows a few cops and as a freelance photographer, he sees them a lot on his shoots. We are anti-police brutality and excessive force. There needs to be a change in how arrests are made and better training for officers across the board.

I support my hubby in Ukraine solidarity; he supports me in Black Lives Matter solidarity. We have sons (and future children) that represent us both. That’s why we’re fighting.

We fight for everyone.

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