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Black Lives (still) Matter

To the editor: In response to those members of the Bellows Falls Union High School Board who opposed student Grace Warya's well prepared and thoughtful request that the school start flying a Black Lives Matter flag (“BFUHS board tables student request for BLM flag,” March 30), I would like to observe the following:

Specifically, to Bellows Falls Union High School Chairwoman Molly Banik, that while you are absolutely correct by stating, “All lives matter,” you unfortunately are exhibiting at the same time a woeful denial of the real world of White privilege that you and I occupy, where it is evidenced everyday, in so many ways, that the lives of Black people very definitely do not matter.

And to my Athens neighbor, Pastor Harold Noyes, who opined, “All of us are equal,” I respectfully submit that while these, too, are nice sounding words, they are also blatantly false and have been since the first African citizens arrived on these shores in 1619 as slaves.

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While perhaps unintended, such positions as Ms. Banik and Pastor Noyes only reinforce the monumental challenge we face in this country of finally coming to terms with the racist poison that has made a mockery of the sentiments we Americans love to call our own — “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — but so infrequently practice.

If we are to finally realize the potential truths that Banik and Noyes’ sentiments represent, we have to move beyond the bromides and platitudes they presently are in the service of denying what is real, and be willing, instead, to examine the truth behind such a simple, yet profound statement as, “Black Lives Matter.”

Tim Stevenson

Athens, March 30