Last week a Center for Human Services (CHS) staff member was confronted by a man who was attempting to put a note on our front door at 17018 15th Ave NE Shoreline. Our staff member experienced this person as rude, angry, and aggressive. He was reacting to the posting we put up on our sign outside of that office. It says: “Black Lives Matter”. This man said to our employee, “You should research it before you put something like that up.” He left his note with our employee; it said “”Take your race baiting black lives matter propaganda sings (sp – meaning “signs”) down or I will!!! All lives matter BLM is a HATE group!” In a separate incident, which may or may not be related to the first incident, our sign was changed to read “Al Lives Matter”, and the letters that were taken down were no longer there (I think that is theft).
While we did not put the message on the sign to offend anyone or to insight rage, apparently, it did so. I will not apologize for this. We will not be intimated by bullies or people grounded in ignorance and intolerance. We have done our research and we are appalled at the normalization of racism and intolerance. Yes, all lives do matter, but as a result of recent brutality and murders of black people, now is a logical time to emphasize and elevate black lives. Even if the recent tragedies had not occurred, we must accept the fact that black people have systematically been targeted for demise since the beginning of our nation, as if their existence did not matter. This must change. CHS wants to be a part of a society that does not accept violence, dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline, and treats everyone with dignity and respect – a society where peace and justice prevail.
CHS is trying to build our capacity to understand and confront racism, starting with our own agency. We have changed our sign back to “Black Lives Matter” and hope that people who disagree will do so in a non-destructive manner. Some issues are just worth speaking out about.
– Beratta Gomillion, Executive Director of Center for Human Services