Harlem Week 2015 Flyer Says “Our Lives Matter”

Our Lives Matter on the Brochure for Harlem Week 2015
Our Lives Matter on the Brochure for Harlem Week 2015

With the ongoing issues in the Black community around police murder and brutality, a few have decided to tip toe around direct support for the call we have come to known as Black Lives Matter.

At a Harlem event yesterday, I picked up a brochure for Harlem Week 2015. Reading through it, I noticed two events labeled under “Our Lives Matter” One event, was labeled as a “Salute to Unity and Healing” The second event, which is in the picture to the left, is deemed an international tribute and salute. Somebody, tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

When I see things like this, it gives me pause. In this writer’s opinion, every variation of Black Lives Matter is a  form of reactionary push back against the idea itself. It’s almost as if we are re fighting the entire “capitalize the B in Black” struggle all over again. Words do matter. What is really confounding is that, when you get right down to it, Black Lives Matter is not even really a militant statement. It is an outcry to recognize that we, at this particular moment in American society, are under attack in ways that other people are not. Whether its the word “your”,  “our”, or “all” substituting them for Black points away from this deliberately. Therefore, it does not stand in solidarity with those who rally around BLM as they address the concerns of today. In fact, it counter-poses these matters with a “yes, but” tone of voice at best, and at worse, mocks and trivializes what BLM is in response to. Despite a number of articles explaining why “all lives” matter is problematic, variations on it continue to spring up.

As a Harlem resident, its disappointing to see the continuation of erasure and appropriation of Black Lives Matter through half-hearted solidarity.




  1. I see it as the generation gap getting larger and larger. The Status Quo doesn’t want to offend the people who are paying them large amounts of money to sponsor the Harlem Week events so to make people comfortable they play on words of “Our Lives Matter”. Don’t want to upset that apple cart. Its unfortunate that we have a price on our culture and will look the other way while our communities are under siege.

    The older generation who “Made It” forgot how it was to struggle. They rather get along to keep what they have then to stand straight and tall and say enough is enough. Some of us got to comfortable and think their connections and money will keep them and their safe because their children are law abiding citizens. Guess what in a car riding alone they are all still BLACK!!!

  2. Points well made, Miss Mae. There is a price to be paid for the price on our culture. It means bought and paid for silence. Thanks for your commentary.

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