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July 13, 2016

Michael Nutter: 'Black AND Blue Lives Matter'

Former Philly mayor calls for conversation, action in wake of recent events

On the same day when President Barack Obama gave a speech that essentially argued, among other things, that the Black Lives Matter movement and supporting our police officers aren't mutually exclusive ideas, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter published an essay that touched on similar points regarding tensions between minority communities and law enforcement.

The piece comes shortly after two black men were fatally shot by police officers under circumstances still under investigation and five Dallas cops were massacred by a gunman during a protest.

In the essay, entitled "Black AND Blue Lives Matter, To Everyone," Nutter said that BLM was starting to make people have difficult but important conversations about racial biases and injustices in America. He also wrote about the struggle faced by cops on a day-to-day basis, noting that eight on-duty police officers were killed (five by gunfire) during his eight years as mayor.

Nutter wrote:

Americans, of all colors, need good professional Police Officers to “serve and protect.” Police Officers need law abiding citizens to “respect and appreciate” them and to better understand the challenges and dangers in 21st century policing. Both groups, and all of us, need to have honest dialogue and try to understand our mutual goals, and our differences. Anger, fear and retaliation will not make things better.

The former mayor referenced a piece he wrote in Time magazine three years ago about stopping urban violence and used several Martin Luther King Jr. quotes to make a call to action. Ultimately, Nutter called for specific policy implementation, suggesting a new national commission examine the concerns raised by BLM and carry out the implementation of necessary reforms in all levels of government.

Nutter continued:

When we value Black AND Blue Lives, then we affirmatively state that All Lives Matter in America. As Dr. King said often, “The time is always right to do what’s right.” That time is right now. And yes, we are ALL of our Brothers and Sisters Keepers in every city, in every community, in every neighborhood because we must all matter to each other. Let’s start talking.

You can read the entire piece on Medium here.