To the Editor:
This letter is in response to a letter last week from Buddy Bachry advocating for “all lives” in the face of the local Black Lives Matter movement. Your comments on the Black Lives Matter movement show your ignorance and miseducation on the topic. No one disagrees that all lives matter. However, black people face disproportionate police brutality, systemic oppression, and inequity all across the world. Until all black people are treated equally, “all lives matter” is an inherently false statement and suggests either ignorance of basic facts or implicit approval of the status quo. In order for all lives to truly matter, we first must recognize that Black Lives Matter. You also suggest that Black Lives Matter has no place in Manchester. The Black Lives Matter movement calls for white people to recognize their own implicit biases against black people and take meaningful actions to help change systems of oppression that target black individuals. Manchester, as the almost exclusively white town that it is, is the perfect place for the Black Lives Matter movement. Those who live here have immense privilege, and to not use our status to help advocate for black lives is shameful. Manchester residents need to make a conscious effort to value not only the town’s few but important black members, but all black lives.
It also appears you greatly misunderstand the Defund the Police movement. The thrust of the movement isn’t to take away money from the police and leave them with less resources for traditional policing functions. Instead, the movement calls for a change in the role of the police within a community and a reallocation of resources to reflect this change. For example, if there is a mental health crisis, those who respond should be mental health professionals trained to deal with the crisis, not an armed police officer who does not know the proper way or may not be the best suited to de-escalate the situation. Instead of requiring police officers to handle a vast range of situations they are not specifically trained or equipped for, town money and resources should be reallocated the proper groups and organizations who have experience with and are trained to deal with these situations. An armed officer is not the right tool to deal with many of the situations they currently are forced to handle. Ensuring the proper people are responding to those in need reduces violent encounters and works to actively protect citizens.
I urge you and all others who respond “all lives matter” to educate yourself. In this age of technology, ignorance is a choice. If you truly believe all lives matter, you also must believe Black Lives Matter. Otherwise, you only value the lives of those who look like you.