A Note About the Protests

As readers of my blog already know, I live in the City of Atlanta. 

It's a fun city. It's full of life, vigor, and diversity.

It's a college town completely unlike the little college town I grew up in out in Southern Calfornia. 

Two of my three kids attended Georgia State, a sprawling city campus. 

I love this town.

This past Friday and Saturday I was busy with my head down oblivious to the world. My dad had come up on Friday morning to continue helping me with painting the interior of my little house. 

I'm still recovering from all the damage my neighbors did when they built their huge house on the tiny lot next door. It took them 18 long months to finish - constant noise and stress to me every day, not to mention the damage they did to my home.

I'm getting there. It's been a long, frustrating process.

I love my little house. 

It's the psychological and financial damage that takes longer to recover from, and the fact that these horrible people live next door. 

They've never once apologized. 

They've never once taken responsibility.

They continued to inflict minor damages while yelling at me that I was a bitch for not wanting them on or near my property. Full disclosure: I've reciprocated. 

They're angry with me and told me that this was all my fault. If I'd only done things "their way," we could have been friends. 

Does this sound familiar?

Much of what has followed has been done with malice toward me because I don't fit the mold of what they had in mind when they built in this area. 

Their complete lack of moral compass scares me. 

But, as we see daily, there's an issue with people lacking a moral compass.

I was busy with my dad working on Saturday and was oblivious to what was going on a mile from my home in Atlanta until a friend texted from California, fearing for my safety. 

I turned on the news and brought us up to speed. 

I'm fine. 

You know who's not fine?

Our black and brown neighbors all over these United States. 

They've been living under a burden their whole lives. The burden of knowing that under the law everyone's supposed to be equal but knowing they're not treated that way. 

That's unjust.

They live with the fear, anxiety, and injustice every day, and it's killing them. 

It's beyond frustrating when you know someone is doing you wrong and there's so little you can do about it.

It's enraging. It makes you want to tear things down and hurt people. 

I understand the feeling.

But what I've experienced is nothing compared to what black people have lived with their entire lives. 

My ability to put my head down and ignore the situation all weekend comes from privilege. 

It's time to stop being oblivious. 

My blog is about my photography and art and existing here in Atlanta. Living in Atlanta means co-existing with people of all types of colors, nationalities, genders, and differences. 

That's one of the things I like about Atlanta.

If there are times I can speak up and make a difference, I will, even if it means my blog looks political. 

Today it's political. 

When a police officer can put his boot on a man's neck and squeeze the life out of him while he cries for his mother, that's a system that's so abhorrent, it has to change.

When a woman in Central Park can use her privilege to intimidate a black man and knowingly put his life in danger, that's abhorrent. 

People of color have lived with this for far too long. 

I hear a lot of people saying, "All lives matter," in response to the Black Lives Matter tag. 

Black Lives Matter is not exclusionary.

It doesn't mean that black lives matter in exclusion to other lives.

It means black lives matter. Period.

But if a black man can't jog down the street, or drive a car, or do any other number of ordinary things that white men take for granted without worrying about being killed for it, then he gets the message - his life doesn't matter. 

The point of the phrase is to point out the systematic undervaluing of black lives. If you'd like to understand it better, read this. I hope you'd like to understand it better. 

I was supposed to be announcing May's print winner today but, not coincidentally I don't think, I haven't heard back from the winner yet, so I may have to choose another winner. 

I felt this was more important. 

I'll announce the winner soon. 

See you between the raindrops.