• Tia Butts

As We Support the Black Lives Matter Movement, Let's Remember Our Ancestors

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Our Ancestors Fought At The Worst Time

I am so bothered by what black people are dealing with during this time, but I’ll be honest about one thing: I would not want to have lived during the time that things were the worst for us. I think we all need to take this time to think of our ancestors and be thankful for the struggles they endured and sacrifices that they made for us. We are back to trying times now – this really feels like another Civil Rights movement. But our ancestors made sacrifices for us so that our struggle wouldn’t be as hard. 

As a way to thank our ancestors, we must use our voice and speak out for justice. Many of our ancestors could not exercise their first amendment right without fearing for their safety. Since racism has reared its ugly head once again, we should at least be thankful that we can stand up for justice and use our voice without fearing for our lives or the lives of our family. 

I’m one those people that really wishes I had a time machine and could go back in time to witness some things in the world. But when it comes to slavery, I wouldn’t even risk going back in time to witness it because I would be so scared that something would go wrong and I would get stuck there. The thought of what black men and women had to endure during that time makes me so sad. Many women spent their entire life simply worrying if they would able to keep their children and stay with their family. There were many that were separated from their children during the slave auctions and never were able to see their children again. These women were so strong. I don’t think I would have had that strength. I probably would have died from grief. 

Reflecting on their strength 

Although slavery was the worst, I feel like the Civil Rights Movement was a pretty horrible time, too. This was a time when systemic racism was bold and clearly weaved into the law – hence the need for a Civil Rights Movement.   When we think of how bold racist laws were (“Separate But Equal,” “Jim Crow”), it should make more sense to people why systemic racism still exists. It was only around 50 years ago that the law was allowed to be openly racist, so what would make us think that systemic racism has just suddenly ended? Racism has been an issue for many years, it still is, and I don't think we are anywhere near the end of it.

But back to the Civil Right Movement. This was a time that black people made so many important sacrifices. They actually boycotted companies (and stuck to it) and stood their ground through peaceful protests. Many were physically attacked and injured for sitting in restaurants that prohibited black customers. These sacrifices and risks resulted in the freedoms our people have today. 

The current boycotts  

Many black people struggled to simply not spend money on July 7th. This was Blackout Day, which called for black people to not spend money at any establishments except for black-owned businesses. I saw many people posting on social media that they were ready to break because they couldn’t find any black-owned businesses in their area. Some people still refused to spend money and said that they would focus on finding more black-owned businesses in their neighborhoods. In general, though, we are so used to getting instant satisfaction that many people just don’t have the willpower to stand their ground on these types of matters. Our ancestors had it much worse than we have it today, and that’s probably what pushed them to have the strength that they had. 

Our struggle isn’t the same, but we must learn.

I can see why it was easier for African Americans to have the courage to stage a peaceful protest (like a sit-in at a restaurant) when they were being denied the right to sit in a restaurant and dine simply because of the color of their skin. Think about the sacrifices you might be willing to make if you worked for someone and couldn’t even use their restroom because of your race. When we realize how bad our ancestors had it, the severity of these sacrifices and risks make more sense. Although we might not have it as harsh as our ancestors had it, we still may want to take a page from their book and use our willpower to work towards justice.  

July 9, 2020

#blackoutday #BLM #civilrights #blacklivesmatter #africanamericans #naacp #blackwomen #justice #socialjustice

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