Book Review: Do All Lives Matter?

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner

Do All Lives Matter?

The Issues We Can No Longer Ignore and the Solutions We All Long For

By Wayne Gordon and John M. Perkins

Baker Books

Black Lives Matter is a national organization created after the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society,” reads the organization’s website. Yet the group has provoked a counterresponse of “#AllLivesMatter,” and even “BlueLivesMatter,” which is about the police.

In the short, powerful book Do All Lives Matter?, two cofounders of the Christian Community Development Association, Wayne Gordon and John M. Perkins, provide clarity and perspective on this debate, working from their years in the civil rights movement. It looks unflinchingly at the American history that led up the Black Lives Matter movement, and how that racist past still festers. Bottom line: “We have to own up to the fact that African Americans and other ethnic minorities in our country are mistreated far more often than most of us care to admit.” Once black lives really matter, that’s when all lives do matter, and it’s then that we build on common ground.

Next, the book shares a roadmap to reconciliation. Some of it is from a Christian perspective, with prayer and scripture; some of it is more grassroots, with suggestions on developing relationships across racial lines and ways to get involved. There are also lists of tools such as music, books, and movies to inform and inspire. The book ends on a hopeful note. As Gordon writes, “Always live believing that what is good and right and true and just will, in God’s time, emerge victorious. All lives do matter!” 

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