Letter: The true meaning of Black Lives Matter

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To the Editor:

I have read a couple letters voicing opposition to the Black Lives Matter mural that is being painted on South Street in front of the Town Office and feel compelled to write a letter to the editor for the first time in my life. It saddens and confuses me to see so many in my community be driven by hate, fear and or just lack of understanding of what the message, "Black Lives Matter" stands for.

The Black Lives Matter mural in Bennington is a sign of welcoming, inclusivity and tolerance. It is both a work of art and a social justice statement. This mural is a community celebration, the supporters of which are your neighbors, friends and family, and includes anyone that wants to be a part of this community collaboration. The Black Lives Matter mural sends a message to those that live here, and those visiting alike, that all are welcome here and all are safe here, REGARDLESS OF IDENTITY. Do we really want Bennington to be that place that is known for intolerance, xenophobia and racism or do we want to be known for inclusivity, tolerance and hospitality?

Please let me dispel some myths:

Black Lives Matter does not mean that all lives don't matter - it means that all lives can't matter until Black Lives Matter too.

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Black Lives Matter does not mean Black lives mean more or are better than other lives.

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Black Lives Matter does not mean only Black lives matter.

Black Lives Matter supporters will not be burning, looting and rioting in Bennington.

Black Lives Matter is not a Marxist terrorist group; and even if it were, the message/movement is not ubiquitous with the formal organization.

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Black Lives Matter does not mean anti-police. It means anti-police brutality and systemic racism.

Lastly, I would like to commend the Bennington Select Board members for having the vision, open-mindedness and fortitude to approve this request. I may not always agree with all their decisions, but this is one I support whole-heartedly.

Kristi Pepoon,

Bennington


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