(SAVANNAH)The Black Lives Matter movement is at the heart of a raging controversy on social media as detractors counter with the statement All Lives Matter. A local leader in the Savannah Chapter of the NAACP talks about the differences and people on the streets share their thoughts on how ALM differs from BLM. Edward Gresham, the chair of the Prison Committee in the Savannah Chapter of NAACP says, “Black Lives Matter is saying that for a very long time in this country, um, really, around the world, that black and brown people have been put in a situation where their lives have not been taken into account in a way that white lives have.” said Gresham. He points to images like one captured in Stone Mountain Georgia at a rally for the Confederate flag last summer, where a white man has his hand on his handgun, a rifle over his shoulder, yet, that man survived that encounter without being shot by police.
People on the streets of Savannah shared their thoughts on the differences between BLM and ALM “All…lives are lives.” said Alan Murray, a contractor on his lunch break.” Webb Elvington of Savannah echoed the sentiment, stating “All lives do matter, whether they are black, white, red, yellow, brown.” Elvington answered. 17 year old Ian Cooper said there’s not really a comparison. “I think the difference would be that, um, black lives matter is actually a major issue that’s actually happening right now, and All Lives Matter seems to be people just trying to make it about themselves.” Cooper said. All three are white. Allen Scott, a lifelong Savannahian and African American says he can understand why some white people don’t understand. But Scott urges whites who do not understand to have the same empathy he has, if the shoe were on the other foot. “We got to be open minded towards each other, I mean, if the skinheads come out and say white lives matter, am I supposed to get mad at them because the way that they feel? No, just don’t try to hurt me for the cause that you believe in.” Scott said.
Here’s an analogy. Imagine a table filled with something to drink for everyone, except one glass is empty. When people sit down at the table to drink, the person with the empty glass says “I’m thirsty, my thirst matters.” Everyone else at the table, with drinks in front of them, are quick to reply, “Well everyone’s thirst matters”, as they proceed to drink from their glasses. Meanwhile, the empty glass remains dry and that person’s thirst doesn’t seem to matter to those who are quenching theirs.
Gresham says BLM wants to make sure that minorities thirst for equality and justice is quenched, with no more empty glasses and deadly encounters between African Americans and law enforcement like those that have occurred like Trayvon Martin and dozens of others since the BLM movement began in 2012. ” Black Lives Matter is about…people wanting real equality. People want to be able to survive.” He said.