Sunday at ELPL: Don't All Lives Matter? Why #BlackLivesMatter

Sunday, November 8, 2015, 8:16 am
Danny Kaplowitz

This Sunday (November 8th), organizers Tamara Butler, Liesel Carlson, Heidi Phillips, and Donna Rich Kaplowitz are working with MSU’s Project 60/50 to host “Don’t All Lives Matter? Why #BlackLivesMatter.”

The event is an offshoot of the Racial Healing film series that’s been going on at the East Lansing Public Library since 2013. According to organizer Liesel Carlson, the event’s goal is “for all of us (presenters and participants) to become more educated about the [Black Lives Matter] movement, [and] discuss how we can talk with each other and with kids about their encounters with racism.”

Black Lives Matter is an activist movement that started after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin. BLM campaigns through both traditional activism and social media, working against societal, interpersonal, and institutional violence toward black people. The decentralized and non-hierarchical movement has been present in protesting the deaths of Americans at the hands of police, including Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown.

As evidenced by the event’s rhetorical headline, “Don’t All Lives Matter?” much confusion and misunderstanding has arisen around the movement, both nationally and locally. It’s the hope of the event’s organizers that, in the words of Carlson, they can “explore the BLM movement and the need to have conversations about race.” The workshop, aimed at parents, educators, and community members, hopes to use videos, vignettes, and small groups to support discussion and develop strategies through which participants can discuss race with children.

Carlson hopes that “participants feel more educated and confident to have brave conversations and to create positive change within their spheres of influence.” With race being a more and more present subject in contemporary discourse, the organizers hope to provide methods through which we can honestly and openly have dialogues across difference.

Like other events in the Racial Healing series, the Black Lives Matter event will be held at the East Lansing Public Library. The series aims to serve as a community conversation, and “to cultivate an inclusive community through conversations that bring about greater awareness, understanding, and respect for our differences and similarities.” It is a branch of the 60/50 project, housed in MSU’s inclusion department, which aims to be a community conversation about human and civil rights. More information on the event can be found about at or by contacting Carlson at or Kaplowitz at

The #BlackLivesMatter event will be held this Sunday, November 8th, from 2-4 PM at the East Lansing Public Library. No RSVP is necessary.


Disclaimer: The author of this article is related to an organizer of the event. He had no role in the event’s conception or coordination.

This article was originally published on November 4 and was re-posted on November 8.