Supporting Black Lives Matter: A Steven Christopher Guest Blog

I grew up in the South and recall having this conversation with a friend the other day. We were so conditioned to seeing the injustices we’re now fighting against, I honestly don't think it ever registered as being anything wrong. Frankly, we're used to people getting beat up by the police. We were used to people getting shot by the police. It was just something that happened. It never dawned on us to consider whether these situations were just. I don't know what life was like everywhere else; that's the relationship that we had with the police growing up though. It was understood that they were right and not to be questioned. 

Thankfully now, organizations like Black Lives Matter have helped me and millions of others wake up and understand that these situations shouldn’t be normalized. None of this is normal. The police are supposed to protect and serve. That should be the norm. It’s in black and white. There should be an investigation into every confrontation resulting in their killing someone. That also should be the norm. How about they just not kill people? Can we normalize that?

Particularly for me, seeing and understanding what happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and recently being made aware of Elijah McClain - it demanded my attention. Especially with Elijah.

I saw somebody that I knew in Elijah. I saw myself in ways. I knew kids growing up who were very much like him - sensitive, would never hurt a soul and into the arts like me. The way that those uniformed individuals took advantage of him and treated him as less than human was heartbreaking. It was disgusting. The way they assumed him being Black made him inherently criminal was gross. And the way they ignored his cries was worse than evil. His pain meant nothing to them. His life meant nothing to them. He means everything to us. Each one of their lives mattered.

I've gone out and marched before but with everything going on with COVID-19 I was forced to take a step back. To make sure I was doing something, I focused on making calls to legislators, sending emails and donating my money. In getting ready to release my song “Don’t Feel Like Dancing”, it felt trivial compared to everything else right now. I felt bad about focusing on music and trying to bring attention to myself but I’d done all this work preparing for its release. Then I thought, “Just give all the money to the movement”. Donating the proceeds from the song to Black Lives Matter was a way for me to continue my work and also bring focus to something that, to me, is a lot more important.

Hopefully right now everyone is doing what they can and, for me, this is just doing my little part. For all I know, I could make $10 from the song but I know it's $10 I need! That I can use! It’s a part of my sacrifice. It's my little part. If things go well, it makes a ton of money; that’s a contribution that I can make towards the movement and pushing for change. It’s been encouraging to see the incremental changes that have been made over the past months. It feels good to know I made phone calls and sent emails contributing to legislation that’s passed. It’s been all due to seeing other activists. Witnessing their courage to do these things has given me the confidence to be able to do them. I try to share my efforts with my followers in hopes that they feel inspired as well.

Change is possible. My way of thinking has changed. My perception of reality changed. Thank God. It’s a domino effect. You can easily get caught up thinking sharing your views won’t make a difference. You don’t think sending an email will have much impact but in my case two weeks later Mayor Garcetti announced he’s taking steps to get rid of use of force. It makes you feel good and it’s proof of the aforementioned. Every bit counts.

Thank you to the Black Lives Matter movement for changing me and changing the world for this southern boy from Memphis, TN.