Imagine being out and about in fear, walking down the street and being judged right away for your dark skin, without saying any words to anyone. Imagine the anxiety of wondering to yourself, “Will I get home alive?” when you get pulled over by a police officer. This happens every single day to Black Deaf people, day in and day out. And it’s something White people can never understand. Black people just know what it’s like to face prejudice immediately. Many White people continue to not understand why it is “Black Lives Matter,” not “All Lives Matter.” There have been several examples of why, and it is important to hear from Black and Brown Deaf community members on their feelings. We ask you to consider their input before you ask us why you “should accept why” Black Lives Matter.
A young Black Deaf individual shares her story with the community and implores people to treat Black people with respect and equality! Strong words coming from a young leader.
Transcript: Hi everyone! It’s me, Milla. I want to say that I support Black people. There’s no reason for racism to happen. Most people look at me and think I’m White. But guess what? I’m not White! I’m Black! My mom is Black and my dad is White. Does that mean you should hate me?! Of course not! We all need to treat Black people with respect and equality. I stand with the Black community! Black Lives Matter! (posted with permission of Milla’s parents)
Eman Be posted a video of Natasha Bacchus sharing what she had to say to the crowd. The video’s description said:
“So after the BLM March. A fraction of the people came back around to the band stand. It was sort of unorganized as far as speakers go but it turned out amazing. No pre rehearsed speeches. Just a soapbox to the biggest crowd of your life. People’s random moms were going on stage to have the mic. Some singing Bob Marley quotes. Some chanting. Random volunteers young and old. Just spoke their mind. Some got really nervous once they got up there and saw how big of a crowd it was. It was a bucket list item for one person, haha. Anyways there was this interpreter man with dreads that was doing sign language the whole time and he asked for the mic. I’m not sure if this was planned but it was beautiful. This deaf woman wanted to give a speech and it was amazing and inspiring. My fav of the day ️”
A three-time gold medalist in the Deaflympics, Bacchus stood up and spoke to the crowd at Victoria Park sharing about all the names she’s been called and the judgment she’s received (i.e., being labeled such an “angry Black woman”). Bacchus also emphasizes that as a Black Deaf woman, she faces so much fear every day because she can’t hear behind her so she has her eyes open and she is constantly paying attention to everything around her. Bacchus ended the video with teaching the crowd how to sign “Black Lives Matter” in ASL.
Dre Hollingsworth (Drizzy Breezy)
A San Diego Rebellion Women’s Tackle Football Player spoke out and reprimanded people for thinking and believing that “All Lives Matter” is acceptable. (The video is captioned)
Deaf Women of Color
Deaf Women of Color posted a photograph of four women of various races and ethnicities (who are all DWC co-founders) who are kneeling and wearing shirts saying “Black Lives Matter.” Their post on Facebook says:
“DWC Stands Up for Black Lives Matters. Please Never Give Up! Please Never Give Up!
Please Never Give Up! Please Never Give Up!
First Row: Thuan Thi Nguyen-Lakrik, Co-Founder of Deaf Women of Color
Second Row: Francisca Rangel, Co-Founder of Deaf Women of Color
Third Row: Dr. Laurene Simms, Co-Founder of Deaf Women of Color
Fourth Row: Leticia Arellano, Co-Founder of Deaf Women of Color”
Black and Brown Deaf community members have spoken: Black Lives Matter, not All Lives Matter. For those that still can’t understand “why this is unacceptable,” the general message from all of these amazing Black individuals is that while all lives matter, it’s the fact that society treats Black lives as the most disposable. Our Black Deaf communities need the most attention right now. If you see an individual bleeding on the floor and their leg is cut open, you don’t say, “But what about my leg?” If you see a parent grieving over their child’s death, you don’t say, “But… what about my child? All children matter.” Why would you see the Black and Brown communities in their generations-long struggle with police brutality and say, “But what about me?” That is what you are saying when you say “All Lives Matter.” You are outright discounting the pain, trauma, loss as well as the value of Black lives.
The Deaf Vee Journal editorial team is using this article to put forth this message: Black Lives Matter, NOT All Lives Matter. We want authentic, real followers who believe in social justice and equality. If you do not believe in Black Lives Matter, that means you do not believe in social justice and equality. If you do not like what we have to say, go elsewhere. Stay tuned for an additional article on where and how you can donate to Black Deaf community-led priorities. We need to do action, not just talk about it.