To the editor:
I am literally writing this letter to you on the morning of Juneteenth after receiving an anonymous note at the Berkshire Money Management office where I work. It reads: “All lives matter. No more business.” The message is scrawled — in bright red sharpie — across a page torn out from this very newspaper, where BMM has been running blackout space for the entire month in active support of Black Lives Matter. No return address, no signature, just the impotent scrawl of yet another coward who does not “approve” of our business taking a stand against the systemic racism that continues to plague our country, our towns, and our lives. Since I have no idea who sent this to BMM, I, actually we, are going to address everyone who slings around the “all lives matter” slogan as a sad retort to glaring injustice, in support of racism.
Not all lives matter until Black Lives Matter. Did you read that? NOT ALL LIVES MATTER UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER. Yet, it is on ALL of us to continue to work to make positive, permanent change that ensures this basic fact. Parents, teachers, community leaders, and yes, business owners. This work is hard. It means having emotional, uncomfortable conversations with our children, our parents, our colleagues, our clients, and most especially, with ourselves. Every day.
The dialogue is changing with the world around it. It is not enough to passively sit by and shake our heads in sadness at “what the world is coming to.” The world, and especially the U.S., has been like this all along. It simmers with injustice and inequality and outright harm against Black citizens. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. All have a story. All. And the common, unforgivable thread in that narrative is: “I feared for my life. I was treated like I was less. And the others were silent.”
I have a 19-year-old daughter. She was raised in this community. She is known. She is accomplished. And she is Black. Proudly Cameroonian and proudly French, a loyal friend, sister, and daughter. She is the finest woman I will ever know. And even this magnificent human being who is the darling of my heart, has come home so many times saying, “I am just so tired, Ma. It’s so heavy wondering that, if something awful happens to me, wondering who’s going to stay and stand up and who is going to say they’re sorry while they run away. Leaving me there on my own.”
So, thank you, anonymous scribbler. For emboldening us even further to continue to openly stand against racism, in all its ugly shapes and sizes, in all the corners where it lurks, including the Berkshires.
The only thing that does NOT matter in all of this, is your business. Keep it, coward.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Nichole Dupont is community development director at Berkshire Money Management. The letter was also signed by Allen Harris, the founder, owner and CEO of Berkshire Money Management.
This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Berkshire Eagle on June 22, 2020.