Gregory Keenen Lucas Jr. has a Black Lives Matter sign in the front yard of his Masury home, something he brought back from a protest in Hermitage that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Lucas is not Black, but he said he identifies with the Black Lives Matter movement because, as an Asian American, he has been subject to racism.
He said he has heard the criticism of Black Lives Matter, the argument that it singles out a group of people, when in fact all lives matter.
“Listen, we know all lives matter – we do,” said Lucas, a barber and importer of high-end snacks and sodas.
But, by focusing on Blacks, he is asking people to consider this country’s legacy of singling out Blacks as a race to be considered less than human.
“Literally, Black people are asking for the smallest thing – to matter. Not above you, not better than you, but just to matter. They’ve been fighting for this for hundreds of years.”
Lucas, who was born in Hawaii and raised in Virginia, said he moved around a lot, mostly in metropolitan areas.
“It was a wide mix of Black, Hispanic, Asians, whites,” he said. “For me, growing up, I never really hung out with one specific color or group, per se. I was that weird kid growing up that hung out with everyone. I hung out with the Black kids, I hung out with Hispanics, I hung out with the gays, the emos, the skaters.”
Lucas is impatient for equality because he and his wife, Shayna, who is Jewish, are about to have their first child, and he and Shayna are raising her 11-year-old twin sisters, who are biracial. He disagrees with the notion that everything takes time.
“Everything does not take time,” he said. “When Hitler tried to take over Germany and killed all the Jews, did it take time? No. Horrendous things do not take time, so why does healing need to take so much time? Honestly, in the day and age we’re in today, I don’t think it’s (racism) tolerable. I don’t think it’s tolerable at all.”
His message to his daughter will be to do what comes naturally, he said.
“Love is natural. It’s organic. You don’t have to force it. You don’t have to try to manipulate it. It just kinda happens. Hate, you have to teach it. You have to instill it. You have to manifest it.”
If he can find one, there’s another sign Lucas said he would like to place in his front yard alongside the one that says Black Lives Matter.
“It says, ‘It’s 2020 and We’re Still Fighting for Equal Rights,’” Lucas said. “This is how systematic racism goes on.”