By Bezabeh “Bez” Mendelsohn

Bez with his older brother Dane and mother Laura deDoes
Photo from Kneeling Art Project by Ann Tracy

You wouldn’t think that a “Black Lives Matter” sign could cause embarrassment, but for me it did.

You wouldn’t think that a “Black Lives Matter” sign could cause embarrassment, but for me it did. My mother is a passionate woman, and stands up for what she believes in, so I wasn’t surprised when I came home to a Black Lives Matter sign on our front lawn. Black Lives Matter is a social movement which pushes against police brutality and violence towards people of color. The Black Lives Matter movement pushed people to get out in the streets and protest for what they strongly believe in. It was not so much the sign that caused embarrassment for me. It was the absence of reaction to the sign that got to me. When you drive into my driveway, the sign is right out front, so there’s no way to miss it. When I get rides home from friends, I know they see it. The reaction they have is just silence. This causes embarrassment for me, because I don’t know what they think – whether they agree with the message or not. Just that itty bit of silence leaves me wondering, and leaves me with embarrassment. Their lack of response leaves me questioning whether they support just me, or my race as a whole. My embarrassment led me to take the sign down. However, my mother helped me understand how important the message is, and how it should be shared. Maybe people don’t know what to say, in the moment. But what they don’t realize is that the absence of reaction is a reaction itself. Sometimes silence can speak louder than words.

Bez is a freshman at Greely High School.

I wanted to be a part of the kneeling project because it seemed like the right time and I knew I had to do it. When Colin Kaepernick first got down on his knee during the national anthem I think he felt a lot of emotion. He was proud of what he had done and even though a lot of people were against what he did, there were many who supported him. I am proud to be a part of this project, it is important to support my black community. It makes me feel good that my mom and brother wanted to kneel with me, because I know that they care so much about me and they wanted to support me.