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A Community of US

#BlackLivesMatter (BLM), but to whom?

In the opening line of the song Keep Ya Head Up, Tupac Shakur raps “They say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice. I say the darker the flesh, then the deeper the roots…”

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It seems that in the last year the lives of those that represent the deep roots of our people, have been cast aside. The stories of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, etc. are mere history lessons to those that are less familiar with extrajudicial police killings of unarmed black people in America. Fast forward to 2015, sadly there is a need to have an organization such as BLM to organize the community around such killings; Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Tony Robinson and Anthony Hill are just a few.  Unarmed, mental health issues and in one case, naked. All killed by police officers who maintain a defense that their lives were in danger. While reports of individuals not of African descent such as Joseph Houseman, Lance Tomayo and Jed Frazier who were actually armed but merely taken into custody,  revealing the gaping disparities in how the police handle situations involving armed suspects. These disparities create a stronger divide between the police and the black community. The latest killings brought forth a movement in this country, the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A movement rooted in the idea of respect and support of the black community; by the black community, community self-governance and law enforcement reform.

For Street Smart, #BlackLivesMatter is, and has always been an unspoken motto. It is the underlying reason of why we do the work. Street Smart’s daily mission is to promote this concept to youth and community; black lives indeed matter. We work with the roses that have grown out of the concrete, youth and young adults that carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, but continue to strive to make better decisions. We work with a population that internalizes so much anger and aggression from environmental stressors, often just waiting to be released. Our purpose here at Street Smart is to let them know that their lives do matter. Educating and empowering them to make change not only in their lives, but in their communities. Encouraging them to become a part of the change that will usher in a new way of thinking and acting within the black community. The long-term goal would be an increased level of awareness that will place a higher value on ‘life’, elevating the cry to expand outside the cases of injustice.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER is the rallying cry, Street Smart is in the fight to strengthen the roots of the community to empower change.

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