Davell Gardner Jr. was eulogized today by Rev. Al Sharpton. In his message to the mourners was a controversial suggestion that Black Lives Matter means something more than a fight against police brutality. It means all lives matter in this case, as black-on-black shootings and murder rage in the streets of this city and nation.
He very eloquently said “Black Lives Matter — it’s not supposed to matter when we are doing it to each other?” He was not only outraged by the murder and the proliferation of guns by the gun industry, but also that BLM means something more, and those concerned about police brutality should also take note of street violence. For this, he’s taken some vitriol from critics who say one of these manifestations of violence has nothing to do with the other.
If BLM, then why was the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church not filled to the rafters with mourners and those concerned with black lives? Where were those people — mostly white —who have been marching through the streets of Manhattan in the last few days causing mayhem, vandalism, blocking traffic and starting trash can fires at restaurants struggling to emerge from COVID-19 shutterings?
While we completely support the right to protest as a First Amendment privilege, is this the most productive way to spend the day and did any of the protestors attend the funeral for this innocent child? Didn’t his black life matter?
Down the block from the funeral home is a food pantry where mostly black and brown people struggling economically get their meals. The people helping were also black and brown. Where were the protestors who profess to be so concerned about BLM?
Yes, there are some who do volunteer work, but where are the rest of these protestors? They can’t say they didn’t know about the funeral — so many seats were vacant. There were those who stayed behind at #OccupyCityHall helping the homeless: true New Yorker’s and people who walk the walk. But unfortunately, the words Black Lives Matter are being used as an excuse to rampage through a city that is struggling to emerge from a pandemic.
We say if people are truly concerned for BLM, then it is incumbent upon those same people to pull themselves away from their video games, beach blankets and summer homes to help these economically troubled communities submerged in violence, and maybe get to know who it is that they are fighting for.