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I want to commend Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone for prioritizing racial justice by collaborating with local Black Lives Matter activists (“Somerville officials push for equal rights,” Metro, Aug. 20), and also to clarify a common misconception about the movement.

A passerby who saw the Black Lives Matter banner hanging in front of Somerville’s City Hall was reported to have said the banner looks great, but to have added that “all lives matter.” This misses the point. We already know that white lives matter.

Our country and its institutions were built on the premise that white people are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” does not intend to privilege one race over another, but to draw attention to the unconscionable discrepancy between the value of white and black life in the United States.


Perhaps white people are resistant to accepting the phrase wholeheartedly because it would require us to admit our participation in the ugliness of systematic racism.

Kate Murray