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Black Lives Matter

Orange movement based on love, respect

By Dawn Burleigh

Dawn.Burleigh@orangeleader.com

Perception may be in the eye of the beholder, or based on reports heard of actions taken in areas across the country. However, a local movement wants to change the views others may have on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, starting at the local level.

While several Orange residents may identify with the movement, Orange does not have an official chapter of the group.

“It is a movement of love,” Maquettia Ledet said. “It is about building up morale towards self first and social responsibility. It is not a terrorist organization but a movement based on love.”

Ledet, of Orange, is pastor of a predominately young adult ministry, The Merge.

“A call first to black people in society, to redefine the value of colored individuals. We must first inwardly redefine what we feel about ourselves,” Ledet said. “Now, what that means is rejecting what we have we have been taught by all of society; it is a summons to abandon the apathy and inferiority we inherited. Then we start reassessing the black life and adhering to a new way.”

The movement is also to give a voice to those individuals who no longer have a voice such Alton Sterling, Philando Castle, Tamir Rice, and Dannarriah Finley.

“We have to show their lives were not in vain. So death does not happen to another,” Ledet said. “It is about healing relationships with the races and speaking the truth.”

BLM does not advocate violence. The movement is response to the fears due to recent events across the country.

In a Leadership meeting on Tuesday, law enforcement officers served on a panel to answer questions from the black community.

“We are confronting the race issues,” Ledet said. “The police can do better and the meeting is part of the solution.”

Ledet also said it appears black lives do not matter as much.

“We are fortunate here that we have better relations with officers than in other cities,” Ledet said. “There are a few officers who need extra training.”

Police training to promote tolerance, cultural competencies and respect that address the negative perception of blacks was one of several issues addressed at the recent Leadership meetings.

“Reformation requires everyone to change their thinking,” Ledet said. “BLM is demanding all change their perception of black lives, including black people.”

Deborah Mitchell, a member of Top Ladies of Distinction Orange Chapter, said the change begins at home.

“It will take continued dialogue,” Mitchell said at the Tuesday meeting.

Ledet said the movement’s intent is not to segregate or fight.

“To be heard, yes,” Ledet said. “We want to be proactive to deal with the issues. It is about reshaping our community thru values and principles. It is about aiming to be right, to do what is right.”

“The despicable attacks against police officers have nothing to do with BLM; this agent is raising awareness of value, and it would contradict it’s mission if it began to mishandle lives itself,” Ledet continued. “Advocating for honor not dishonor. We value and are simply requesting that the black life be valued in this society. Endangered species are protected by society and it’s laws. When hunting season consist of black men, Women, and children something needs to be done.”

While explaining the need for the movement Ledet shared an analogy.

“When you tell your child to clean their room, a guest may look in and say it is clean,” Ledet said. “However, you know to look under the bed and in the closet to see if it is truly clean. This is a great country, the greatest country of all. There is room for improvement.”

For Ledet, it begins with adding value to black lives.