We’ve long known that if you don’t want any conflict, avoid talking about religion or politics. You can now add one more topic to avoid, Black Lives Matter.

There’s a lot of people who simply lose their minds at the very mention of Black Lives Matter. And then there’s others who embrace Black Lives Matter like a stuffed animal. The term has inspired knock offs like All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and anything else people think Matters.

Most people don’t have a clue what Black Lives Matter is but most of us have strong opinions about what we think it is. In essence, Black Lives Matter is an activist organization not unlike the activist organizations that fight for gun control, #MeToo, and the Mariner 2 pipeline. All effective protests require organization and Black Lives Matter organizes against violence and systemic racism towards black people.

Of course, in our post racial society, many believe there’s no place for a Black Lives Matter, but circumstances and situations have proven quite the contrary.

The crazy thing about Black Lives Matter is how hardly anyone knows who started the movement, or why. You’d think with so much attention on Black Lives Matter, their founders would be household names. But, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi could be next to you in line at the local McDonalds and most of us wouldn’t have a clue who they are.

I believe the reason we’re hardly ever introduced to them in the mainstream media is because they represent what the kids of the Parkland, Florida school represent – smart, articulate, and driven individuals with a cause. I’ll let you come up with your own reasons why we should hear from Parkland students and not the ladies of Black Lives Matter.

When we do hear from Black Lives Matter folks, they’re usually in a protest situation surrounded by police in riot gear and armored vehicles. They never appear to be armed with anything more than a sign and a microphone but when faced with guns in their face, some have come to the gun fight with a rock. They claim to be there for peaceful protest but are often met with the state militia.

If we were to ever hear from the founders of Black Lives Matter we’d be listening to Ms. Cullors, a New York Times Best Selling Author and Fulbright Scholar; Ms. Garza, a leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States; and Ms. Tometi, founder of a national organization that educates and advocates to further immigrant rights and racial justice together with African-American, Afro-Latino, African and Caribbean immigrant communities with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Masters of Arts degree in Communication.

If you want to really hear some articulate leaders from a protest movement, these ladies would run circles around those kids from Parkland.

But, most of America will forever paint Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization because that’s what the President says they are. Yet, until we do our own study and realize there are thirteen guiding principles that should apply to those who choose to become involved under the Black Lives Matter banner no one will ever understand the Black Lives Matter movement.

  1. Queer affirming
  2. Loving engagement
  3. Black villages
  4. Black women
  5. Black families
  6. Transgender affirming
  7. Collective value
  8. Unapologetically black
  9. Diversity
  10. Globalism
  11. Empathy
  12. Restorative Justice
  13. Intergenerationality