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Jensen: Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ Shouldn’t Be Hard

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Juneteenth was Friday. The day we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States in 1865. Thousands of Utahns recognized and celebrated Juneteenth, including Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.

He posted a graphic on Instagram that says “free-ish since 1865.”

The “-ish” is a reference to the inequality, injustice and racism that people of color still face in this nation 155 years later.

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HAPPY JUNETEENTH🙏🏾

A post shared by Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) on

There were mostly positive and supportive comments on the post, but there were also plenty that were disparaging. Some of the comments contained veiled racism, others were overt.

Similar comments can be found on Black Lives Matter social media posts made by the Utah Jazz and BYU Football.

Sure, some of the negative posts were made by bots, but there were a number made by real people – some Utahns, some members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints.

Saying Black Lives Matter Shouldn’t Be Hard

I grew up a Jazz fan, I live in Utah and I’m a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. These comments made me sick, angry and embarrassed.

Twice since June 1, the President of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, has made bold and clear statements denouncing racism.

On June 1 he said, in part:

The creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent. It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.

Then, in a joint statement with the NAACP:

Teaching children to love all, and find the good in others, is more crucial than ever. Oneness is not sameness in America. We must all learn to value the differences.

Saying Black Lives Matter shouldn’t be hard, it shouldn’t be divisive and it’s shouldn’t be a political statement.

We should all believe that.

Many of our Black brothers and sisters are speaking out about their struggle and sharing the stories of racism they have had to endure in our nation, and in this very community – and it’s still happening in 2020.

We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to have empathy and we need to love one another.

Our brothers and sisters of color need us to stand with them and walk with them, not discount their experiences and pretend racism and inequality no longer exist.

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