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Black lives stopped mattering. Or did they ever matter?

Roxane Gay: ‘Black lives matter, and then in an instant, they don’t’


The movement took over the internet in 2012 following the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted. T-shirts were made. Twitter and Facebook avatars started to change. The hashtag became a staple in the social media community. It was a go-to term.

But some folks just didn’t get that memo.

Waking up Thursday morning to two black men being killed by police in less than 24 hours shocked the world. Video after video surfaced of men slain by police officers. The first was Alton Sterling, who died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The other was Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

Senseless killings are going on in the black community already, and there is an added pressure when black men and women are slain by those who are expected to serve and protect.

After hearing of 37-year-old Sterling’s murder, writer Roxane Gay penned an op-ed piece in The New York Times that shed light on the very notion of when black lives stop mattering.

It is a bitter reality that there will always be a new name to that list,” Gay writes. “Black lives matter, and then in an instant, they don’t. OVER the past several years, we have borne witness to grainy videos of what ‘protect and serve’ looks like for black lives — Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Kajieme Powell, to name a few. I don’t think any of us could have imagined how tiny cameras would allow us to see, time and again, injustices perpetrated, mostly against black people, by police officers. I don’t think we could have imagined that video of police brutality would not translate into justice, and I don’t think we could have imagined how easy it is to see too much, to become numb. And now, here we are.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.