Black Lives Matter

*Update* The Black Lives Matter card link was no longer active. It has been fixed and updated with a new card.

Black Lives Matter [full stop]

Americans and the world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd with their own eyes, unaltered, unfiltered by the hands of a criminal who happened to call himself a police officer. In the hockey world, we continue to see injustice and racism being exposed while young up and coming stars like K’Andre Miller are attacked and targeted still to this day.

I spoke out on my personal Facebook page in my way of trying to show support but also voice my belief in what I feel is ruining us to the core. With failures of leadership across the board we ALL must take a stance to do what’s right, not only by speaking or typing words – but by action.

A major/paramount problem in this country is that we have systemic racism and abuses of power across the board which those in power are not taking seriously by- both Democrats and Republicans. This also extends outside of the governmental politics and has plagued sports. If you’re sitting there thinking, oh here we go – this guy is full of shit: I’m not sure how you could possibly sit there and think such and consider yourself lucky…. and yes, you are privileged.

In 2008, many of us who were now of voting age or eager to be able to cast our first votes were promised change in the world. Fast forward over 20 years and where is the real change? Where is the beneficial progressive action towards betterment of all in this country? Which means Black Lives Matter. It’s the same nonsense over and over with nothing getting done other than those in power getting on their soapbox to appease people and buy votes then turning their backs when the cameras go dark.

This is not an “All Lives Matter vs Black Lives Matter” debate or argument. Of course all lives matter, but in this moment, we all need to let the world know that BLACK LIVES TRULY DO MATTER. These are not just words to utter and let fade once time passes. For far too long those with white privilege (myself) have cast aside instead of helping those around us to rise up and achieve true equality. If you can’t stand and say that black lives matter, then simply put you’re not saying ALL LIVES MATTER.

“My message isn’t for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That’s the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue.”

Jonathan Towes – Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks

With this, we need our actions to speak louder than words. Let’s not fall into the trap of making empty and hollow statements that have flown through just about every NHL team in the past day or so. Let’s not just put words on paper and turn a blind eye when time passes. Let’s not just say what we can do and hope that others do it for us. Let’s not demand for REAL change and not ensure it truly happens. Let’s not use this moment in time to deflect or discredit those that are suffering.

Jonathan Toews put out arguably the strongest statement and reflection on Instagram. If you have not read it, please do so and even if you have, read it again.

View this post on Instagram

A lot of people may claim these riots and acts of destruction are a terrible response. I’ll be the first to admit that as a white male that was also my first reaction. But who am I to tell someone that their pain is not real? Especially when it is at a boiling point and impossible to hold in anymore. It’s obviously coming from a place of truth. This reaction isn’t coming out of thin air. I’m not condoning or approving the looting, but are we really going to sit here and say that peaceful protesting is the only answer? There has been plenty of time for that, and if it was the answer we would’ve given it our full attention long ago. Listen to these two men debate. They are lost, they are in pain. They strived for a better future but as they get older they realize their efforts may be futile. They don’t know the answer of how to solve this problem for the next generation of black women and men. This breaks my heart. I can’t pretend for a second that I know what it feels like to walk in a black man’s shoes. However, seeing the video of George Floyd’s death and the violent reaction across the country moved me to tears. It has pushed me to think, how much pain are black people and other minorities really feeling? What have Native American people dealt with in both Canada and US? What is it really like to grow up in their world? Where am I ignorant about the privileges that I may have that others don’t? Compassion to me is at least trying to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what someone else is going through. For just a moment maybe I can try to see the world through their eyes. Covid has been rough but it has given us the opportunity to be much less preoccupied with our busy lives. We can no longer distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on. My message isn’t for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That’s the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue. Let’s choose to fight hate and fear with love and awareness. Ask not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you? Be the one to make the first move. In the end, love conquers all. #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

The actions you can start with are visiting the below link. The Black Lives Matter card is regularly updated and is full of resources where we can help, seek help and educate ourselves and those among us. Visit the card https://linktr.ee/blacklivesmatter

We can also listen and learn as well as continue to seek out actions that we can take to make a difference which is something I promise to do.

Let’s get to work, let’s get to real action and real progress for us, our children and those that come after us. ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻

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