"Do All Black Lives Matter?" by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

Please note: The most recent "Connections" e-blast incorrectly referenced a blog post written by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle.

"Black Lives Matter to Black People" written by James Simmons of Baber AME Church, was substituted for Dr. Marvin A. McMickle's post, "Do All Black Lives Matter?" We apologize for the error.

Dr. McMickle's blog is listed here. Please see the link below to comment on or share the article.

I am sympathetic and supportive of the movement known as Black Lives Matter. This movement initially emerged in response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida. However, the movement took on an even larger visibility when it began focusing on the white police officers that shot and killed unarmed black males in Ferguson, MO; Cleveland and Cincinnati OH; North Charleston, SC and Charlotte, NC; as well as black people who died while in police custody in Staten Island, NY, Baltimore, MD and in a county jail in Texas. Those tragic deaths are deserving of every bit of outrage that the Black Lives Matter group has been expressing over the last calendar year. I say again that I am fully supportive of this group when they speak up about these cases of white-on-black homicide; even when they interrupt political candidates during their campaign speeches. However, I do have a question I want to raise with and about the Black Lives Matter movement which is “do black lives matter just as much when the shooter that ends a black life is also black? There is no doubt about the fact that the vast majority of shooting deaths of black people in this city and across this country are the result of black-on-black homicides. When those black-on-black homicides occur I would hope to see the same protests and public outcries that are predictable when a white police officer does the shooting. Black-on-black homicides have become common occurrences in cities and towns all across the country. No white persons are driving through black communities randomly shooting black people inside their homes or as they are walking down the street or sitting on a park bench. In 99% of the cases, those are black-on-black homicides resulting from gang feuds, turf wars, drug deals or random acts of senseless violence. If white-robed members of the KKK or self-described white supremacists were involved in these actions there would be swift and universal condemnation both within the black community and across the country. However, black people are killing one another at a near epidemic level, and it has not yet generated any response from the Black Lives Matter movement or other people across this country. Do black lives only matter when the killer is white, or do black lives matter just as much when the killer is black? The identity has not yet been determined of the person who opened fire on August 19th near Genesee Street here in Rochester who shot seven people killing three of them. It should be hoped that the Black Lives Matter movement and all of us in Rochester will express our outrage and demand justice whether the shooter is proven to be black or white. Three black lives have been killed here in Rochester, and many more have been killed in the very cities across this country both before and after a white police officer was involved in shooting a black victim. If Black Lives Matter is to have any integrity as a movement or as a phrase then it must be shown that black lives matter just as much when some black lives are ended by other black people. This may not be a popular thing for a black person like me to say in this public forum, but I believe this to be the truth and it must be said!

To view this thread online or to post a comment, please see:






Dr. Marvin A. McMickle discusses the Voting Rights Act

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle recently submitted this entry to the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog:

Fifty years ago the passage of the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson offered a promise of the end of all the voter suppression tactics aimed primarily at African American voters ranging from literacy tests, to poll taxes, to outright intimidation. The Voting Rights Act also offered the hope of a substantially increased African American electorate whose newly expanded access to the political process would alter the American political landscape over time.

Fifty years later the most important section of the Voting Rights Act was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court; the section that required prior approval by the Justice Department or a Federal District Court judge to any changes in voting rules for ten states that had the most sever voter suppression against African Americans prior to 1965. Immediately after that ruling by the court most of those ten states joined by other states with largely Republican dominated state legislatures have reintroduced new voter suppression laws. They include showing government-issued IDs, restrictions on early voting , limits to same-day registration, and attempts to end Sunday voting which became extremely successful in the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. All of these changes were cloaked in language about preventing voter fraud even though some of the states that adopted these rules could not point to a single instance of voter fraud dating back twelve years.

Equally troubling is the fact that while voter suppression tactics are going up,
black voter participation is going down in all but the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections when Barack Obama was on the ballot. It is important to remember that all of the events in Ferguson, Missouri could have been avoided if black voters who are the population majority had voted higher than the 14% that voted in the last several local and state elections. The presence of a white mayor, a white police chief, a white district attorney and a 90% white police force were a direct result of black residents who either did not register or did not vote. Those political dynamics were as responsible for the death of Michael Brown as the bullets fired from Daryl Wilson' gun. Black citizens of Ferguson quickly realized this problem, and as a result of the last election cycle they now have a black mayor and a black police chief. Black lives matter, but so do black voters!

Fifty years later the issue of voting rights and increasing voter suppression is back in the news, but so is the problem of declining black voter participation. The Voting Rights Act provided access to the voting booth, but it did not and cannot mandate or motivate people to exercise that right. With the 2016 election season already underway the outcome may well be determined by these two trends; an increase in voter suppression by some states and a self-imposed decrease in black voter participation. I am hoping for a reversal of both trends.

Flags Have a History: A Unite Rochester blog post by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

In a recent post to the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle, Dr. Marvin McMickle discusses the Confederate flag and its symbolism. He says, "Those who claim that the flag is a symbol of their heritage need to ask themselves what that heritage was all about."

Please click on the link to read or comment on this essay: