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Black Lives Matter
That’s the recent slogan
The chant remains unchanged
The focus remains unchanged
But the slogan changes
in conformity to the events
We want freedom
We want freedom now
We shall overcome
Freedom reigns
Equal justice for all
Black Lives Matter
Blackness is being Black
Being Black is Blackness
Blackness is being Negro
Blackness is being Negress
Blackness is being Afro-American
Blackness is being African-American
Blackness is being African
Blackness is being Colored

Yes— being Black testifies
to centuries of stigma
The stigma of being Black
The stigma of racism
The stigma of segregation
The stigma of prejudice
The stigma of discrimination
Used, abused, discarded
Ignored and explained away
Contempt, despised, indifference
Blatant, naked incredulous indifference
Only to be seen, not to be heard
That is the stigma
The stigma of the Black life

Yes—Black Lives Matter
Black power, Black nationalism
But wait! That’s not enough
That’s missing the point
If left in abeyance
The focus, the slogan, the chant
And even the marches 
Are all but skeletons
The masterpiece template
The foundation of the focus
But the building is missing 
The building must be built

A new day has dawned
Times have changed
This is a new era
A new era with the same focus
The same focus that must
Now navigate new ways and new means and methods
To implement the focus
It is high time to build
It is past time to build
We must build now
Not sit on our ancestors’ graves 
Keeping vigil night and day
That will not build the house
Our ancestry, our traditions, our culture
Has at its very core unification
Unified by common interests
By a community of interest
Where as all the Blacks 
We inhabit the entire spectrum
Of the economic sphere
And of the academic sphere 
And of the entertainment sphere
And of the sports sphere
Everywhere you look
Blacks are prominent there
But we all sit back
And enjoy our luxuries 
The luxuries of our labors
We are complacent to the cause
The community of interest
To leave no Black destitute
That will reduce drastically
Black exposure to the elements
The elements of racial bigotry and hate
Because the embers are still burning
Some still espouse that mentality
That of the non-person 
The non-person of the Black person,
No doubt about it

Black Lives Matter
But what about the other lives
Don’t they matter also? 
All lives matter
Native American lives matter
Hispanic lives matter
White lives matter
Asiatic lives matter
Masculine lives matter
Feminine lives matter
Adult lives matter
Children’s lives matter
Heterosexuals lives matter
Homosexuals  lives matter
And yes, prisoners’  lives matter

All men are created equal 
All lives matter
But there will always be racial bigots
Bigots who hate because of skin color

“Prejudice is to him
what alcohol is to the alcoholic…
Prejudice is his necessary narcotic…
The very tissue of his existence…
The summary of his negative
attitudes towards other people 
must rely upon his prejudices
for intensity of feeling
for an acute awareness of being
for the meaning of life…
Remove them and he is nothing.” 

That is the solution
The solution for Black Lives Matter,
The solution for All Lives Matter
Remove access to the opportunity
That gives the bigots the platform 
To execute their belligerence
Take care of our own
And avert exposure to the elements 
The elements of bigotry and hate
And the bigot
“loses his identity
he becomes a faceless creature
stripped of his prejudices
he becomes emotionally insecure
The prey of an indescribable sense of panic.”

He becomes a nut-house candidate
where eventually he’ll end up
Reducing their belligerence
Pay more than 98 percent
And that’s a margin
We can all live with. 

Editor’s note: the quoted selections above come from Kyle Haselden’s “The Racial Problem in Christian Perspective” (1959).

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Ewallor Ngaaje is a writer incarcerated in California.