The Black Lives Matter movement should broaden its perspective

The Black Lives Matter movement should broaden its perspective
April 28
05:15 2016

James B. Ewers Jr.

Guest Columnist

I grew up in a time when gun violence was not as pervasive as it is today. Quite honestly, I wonder if anyone in my neighborhood owned a firearm.  If they did, we as children certainly didn’t know about it.  You know, just as it is today, kids talked back in the day. I didn’t hear any of my friends say their parents owned a gun.

The only people I knew that had guns were the police. Growing up, even through high school, we didn’t have any encounters with the police. In fact, we didn’t get close to the police much less their guns. The father of one of my friends was a detective, but we never saw his weapon.

As we all know, now there is a “Black Lives Matter” movement that has taken hold in this country. It may have been the Trayvon Martin killing by George Zimmerman that made more people pay attention. The Black Lives Matter movement has made America take stock of the number of black men in particular losing their lives because of white police officers. Arguably, there aren’t a lot of states in the union where this scenario has not played out a time or two.

Yes, it’s hurtful to see white police officers use their weapons to kill or maim young men and women of color. The level of aggression and force is unacceptable. Some states like South Carolina have prosecuted police officers for being trigger happy and insensitive.

These incidents happen too frequently so the Black Lives Matter movement has taken city and state governments to task and rightfully so. It is my opinion that more stringent laws need to be put in place so that the police don’t overuse their power and abuse their privilege of being law enforcement officials.

We as citizens must not become lethargic in our efforts to see justice done. We can no longer accept the “administration’s answer”. Take Baltimore, Maryland for example. What happened to Freddie Gray inside of that police van? When we last saw Freddie Gray before he stepped into that van, he was alive. Now he is not.  I believe we need the Black Lives Matter movement because it keeps us all vigilant. It serves as a type of moral checks and balances. However, it is my hope that the Black Lives Matter movement will broaden its focus and perspective. We only have to watch the news to see that we as black people are killing other black people at an alarming rate.

Recently in New Orleans, Louisiana former New Orleans Saints player, Will Smith, was killed by Cardell Hayes over a fender bender. That’s right, a fender bender! Hayes killed Smith and wounded his wife. All involved were black. Will Smith was set to be inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in the fall. Smith’s funeral was held on Saturday. Hayes is in jail charged with second degree murder and his bail is set at one million dollars. New facts in the case are unfolding every day. Where is the outrage when we see brothers killing brothers?

The killing which I just described occurs way too often among us. It seems at times that we wake up mad, go through the day mad and before you know it something bad happens. Instead of standing at the corner of hope and opportunity, some of us stand at the corner of despair and disappointment.

We must be proactive in our communities to stop the violence among us. The Black Lives Matter movement has an opportunity to lead the way in this effort. Partnering with places of worship, city agencies and schools will be necessary in order to grow and sustain a new message.

All of us have a part to play! It starts with us and where we live. Replace the frown with a smile, replace fault with forgiveness, and replace a quick temper with patience and tolerance.

The verdict is in and we can do it! Some many years ago now, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown sang, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.” Stop the violence against each other today!

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C Smith University where he was all-conference for four years.

He is the President Emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio and a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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Wali Pitt

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