Black Lives Matter

This message originally appeared on Facebook on June 6, 2020. 

To Kanaeokana’s beloved followers,

We have noticed some folks responding to our posts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement with the phrase “All Lives Matter,” as a sort of rebuttal. And we are going to take that as a genuine sentiment on your part that you believe that all of our lives matter, black folks, brown folks, white folks, queer folks, trans folks, native folks, etc., and that you are not just giving us a glib response that shows your support for the status quo of systemic injustice by not taking part in what is a powerful movement for social change and actual justice in our society.

With this shared belief that all of our lives matter as the starting point, let us try to explain why if you truly believe all lives matter that you should support the Black Lives Matter movement and realize that by saying “All Lives Matter,” you are disempowering a movement that is actually trying to make sure that all lives actually matter. Just as black folks have been saying from the beginning of this movement, Black Lives Matter does not mean that the lives of black people matter more than the lives of other people. Let’s repeat that one more time: no one in the movement is saying that black lives matter more than anyone else’s.

What it is saying is that for too long, Black lives have not mattered. Black folx have had their basic humanity denied, not just by individual racists, but by systemic injustices that have been in operation for hundreds of years. From the brutality of the Atlantic slave trade, to being counted as only ⅗ of a human being just to figure out legislative representation for states, to the Black Codes formulated to keep slaves freed by the 13th Amendment in bondage, to the Jim Crow laws, to redlining and the sometimes literal destruction of prosperous black communities, to mass incarceration, to stop and frisk policies and continued killings at the hands of the police, it has been clear for centuries that black lives have not mattered.

So Black Lives Matter is a call to all of the people who think that all lives should matter that black lives should matter too, and a stark reminder that they haven’t. To support the Black Lives Matter movement is to help undo some of the pernicious effects of colonialism, capitalism, and racism. Nothing in your support of the Black Lives Matter movement would take away from the struggles of you, your family, or your own people. Your support for Black Lives Matter does not mean you think that anyone else’s lives matter less. What it means is that you stand in support for the right of all of us to live in a just and pono society. What it means is that you care that a huge part of our broader community is suffering and dying. So really, we hope that you will remember to start saying, “Black Lives Matter.” But even if after hearing all of that, you still feel like you have to say “All lives matter,” please at least follow it up with, “so black lives should matter too.” And then do something to support the movement.


There are several ways listed to support the movement below along with links to other folks, even Good Housekeeping and one with visuals if you are more visually attuned, explaining why you should think before you use “All Lives Matter” as a response to what is happening now.

LEARN MORE about the issues, solutions, and calls to action directly from the frontline of the Black Lives Matter movement:
The Movement For Black Lives
Black Lives Matter
NY Times Op-ed: The Good, Racist People

LISTEN TO the voices of Black Kānaka, and Black and non-Black allies in Hawaiʻi who describe how our struggles connect and the history of anti-blackness in Hawaiʻi:
Where Will You Be? Why Black Lives Matter In The Hawaiian Kingdom
10 Reasons Black Lives Matter In The Hawaiian Kingdom

WATCH these films:
13th (YouTube)
Just Mercy (YouTube)
Fruitvale Station (Tubi, YouTube)
When They See Us (Netflix)
Moonlight (Netflix, YouTube)
Whose Streets? (YouTube)
The Hate U Give (Amazon)
Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Amazon, YouTube)

Black Lives Matter
Seek out Black-led community organizations in your area

JOIN IN online or in-person to stand in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, just as tens of thousands worldwide have stood with us for Maunakea:
The King Center online protest
• Seek out Black-led local events in your area

Kū i ke aloha, kū i ka pono, kū i ka lōkahi. View Kanaeokana’s statement of aloha and solidarity

WATCH FOR FREE: Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

WATCH FOR FREE: Based on the best-selling novel, The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter, who lives in two worlds: the poor, black neighborhood where she resides and the mostly white prep school she attends. This uneasy balance is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend by a policeman. Facing pressures from all sides, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

WATCH FOR FREE: A powerful and thought provoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.