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LW: And gooood morning everyone, this is Luke Warm, alongside Rebecca Tanglewood, aka Ms. Interpret, and this is the weekly edition of It’s Your Call here on WOMP 104.3. What’s new, Rebecca?
RT: Well, Luke, this week, looking at another local business, organization or ministry seen as a calling, we have with us Angela Craven and Keane Comfort, who are the driving forces behind Your Life Matters!, a group of like-minded Christians from several churches looking to get involved in issues of race, community safety and local policing.
Good morning, ladies!
AC, KC: Thanks so much for having us on today.
RT: Can you tell us what you’re about and how this all got started?
AC: Sure. Well, with the series of police shootings at various locations across the country, we felt, as Christians, it wouldn’t look good for us to be seen as just sitting silently on the sidelines. So I got together with Keane—our sons are on the same YMCA swim team, currently not happening of course—and started talking and it just kind of started to gel.
The first thing we wanted to do was make perfectly clear what our intentions were. So we came up with Keeping All Rights Equal Network as a name. We want this to grow, and Your Life Matters! is the first step, but we want to move onto other topics: environmental justice, gender equity, climate change, and so forth.
LW: Keeping All Rights . . . Wait, the acronym is . . . KAREN? You chose KAREN as the name of your enterprise . . . intentionally? You are aware—
KC: Of the slang connotation? Oh, sure. But we wanted to overturn stereotypes by showing that every KAREN—well, isn’t a Karen. We don’t want to be seen as like that horrid woman in the video. Good Lord!
LW: Hmmm. OK. But what about Your Life Matters! ? It sounds like it’s intended to be all-inclusive, right? But why not All Lives Matter, the most common counter-protester riposte to Black Lives Matter?
AC: Sure. Well, we saw Your Life Matters! –don’t forget the exclamation point!—as a kind of cheery, upbeat middle way. We, of course, value all black lives. And all lives, for that matter. But we thought that just signing onto All Lives Matter, well, we might be seen as racist since that’s the accusation that’s been tossed back at—
LW: But didn’t you just say—when defending your KAREN acronym—that you wanted to overturn bias and stereotypes? Suppose All Lives Matter is perceived by some as code for anti-anti-police protests, which are in turn assumed to be racist because the victims in most of these cases are black or brown. Don’t you want to fill up—displace stereotypes, really—that phrase with truly all-inclusive attitudes and actions?
KC: Well, it’s just that it could be seen as, well, racist.
RT: But who’s defining the terms in the debate here? Who’s authoritative word says it’s racist? Is God declaring it’s racist? We are talking about a calling, aren’t we? A calling from God?
AC: Well, the BLM protesters, of course.
I mean, we know we’re not racist, but if we publicly stated that we don’t agree with BLM’s take, well, it could be seen as prejudiced, which would be a bad testimony for our local churches.
RT: Sorry, ladies. But by my count, you’ve used the phrase be seen as, or others like it, a total of 6 times in this interview.
Is this about who you are and your actual views, or what you want to be seen as? You know, “doing your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them”?
AC: Oh, I don’t know about that. I mean, there are limits to what we can do. My Jim is a deacon at the church. There’s always the possibility of blowback. And Keane and her husband run the car wash by the new Lidl store. They employ a lot of—well, they have to walk a fine line, you know.
LW: Yes, well, you also mentioned branching out into other public policy topics. Climate change, for example. What about that?
KC: Well, that may be a couple of years or so down the road. For now, we’re covered. I mean my husband and I just bought a Prius. It was a little more than we wanted to spend for a second car, so I guess you could say it was a bit of an indulgence—
LW: An indulgence? You may have just admitted more than you realize. Thanks, Angela. Thanks, Keane. It’s been—maybe not real—but definitely enlightening.
We’ll be right back after these messages.