Thursday, June 11, 2015

Overheard in St. Louis

Not so long ago, I was walking to a coffee shop in a suburban-ish neighborhood. I was approaching a group of three workmen getting ready for their day to begin. Two had perched themselves on the trailer bed full of equipment. One was facing them and the homes. I could hear what they were saying from 15 feet away because of the quiet hour.

As I approached, I saw one of the men look up into a yard. He made a glottal noise- a mix between a grunt and scoff.

"They have a 'Black Lives Matter' sign."

I stiffened and felt my pulse quicken. Instinctively I was preparing myself for whatever he was about to say next. Trying to anticipate it, so I could respond.

Then I heard...

"Black lives do matter." 

One of the man's partners spoke up. Simple. True. Stated without anger by an African American.

There was no response. Not a rebuttal or effort to refute. It was so unlike what'd I've seen unfold online. No splitting of hairs. No, "But all lives matter," retort.*

Just, "Black lives do matter," and silence. It was beautiful, really to see and hear. It said it all.

*If you hadn't noticed already, this is an axiom leveled to negate the point of the Black Lives Matter campaign. Both are true. One needs to be said more and lived out.