When Brittany Hilton posted a picture of herself and her fellow officer and husband Steven onto her Facebook page, she had no idea things would go as far as they did. Within a week, her post had been shared over 100,000 times. Most were from supporters though plenty were from detractors as well. Brittany’s true intent was to say, “hey look, my husband and I, we’re human beings, with a family, with friends, we smile, we’re not the nameless villain in a political drama.” Some of her word choices didn’t sit well with people. Brittany was faced with a lot of conversation she wasn’t expecting.
This happy-looking photo spread around the world like wildfire.
It was accompanied by a brief comment:
“All you may see in this photo is two smiling police officers. But there is more. We are husband and wife, parents to four beautiful girls, we are a son and a daughter, a brother and sister, a grandson and granddaughter, a niece and nephew. Steven is also an army veteran. We are friends to many. Before you say hateful things and put all officers in a category…remember we are all individuals attached to a delicate thin blue line. We are attacked daily and getting killed just for putting on a badge. You voice your opinion, and rally against law enforcement over tickets!! We are risking our lives.
This photograph was taken on Thanksgiving Day. My husband and I both decided to work, giving up time with our family so the community would be safe. Think before you speak. Your words could promote deadly actions. WE BLEED BLUE! All lives matter.”
While she hadn’t necessarily thought her words could be taken in the light they were by many people,some of her words were being misinterpreted. At the time she posted this, she had been upset by some of the truly terrible, sometimes violent things she was hearing from people over traffic tickets. Unfortunately, in the context of everything else, people felt like she was unfairly misrepresenting why many people are seeking criminal justice reform.
She wasn’t. This was a specific comment in response to specific threats at a specific time.
One of the big sticking points for others was her use of the phrase, “All lives matter.” This slogan is a widely contested and highly controversial phrase, with an almost unending back-and-forth battle over whether it undermines the activist message of the Black Lives Matter movement or not. Many feel it doesn’t. Many feel it does. There doesn’t seem to be much hope of reconciliation there.
Unless you’re Brittany Hilton. She recently posted a follow-up, having taken stock of her original post and the events that followed.
“The past week has been a little crazy. My post has literally traveled around the world. I wish I would have known that it would go viral because I would have taken the time to explain that officers are not just getting killed over tickets. My original post was in response to some local criticism about tickets. I simply wanted to show others that we, my husband and I, are everyday people too, who are just trying to do a job and come home to our family. I am not blind to the fact that there is an ongoing race war in our country… My heart goes out to anyone who has been targeted, simply for the color of their skin, or the uniform they wear. The hate has got to stop. When I said All Lives Matter, it was not a poke at the Black Lives Matter movement. I truly feel that all lives matter. As long as I am a police officer, I will strive to bring victims justice. I want to make a difference. I want to restore people’s faith in Law Enforcement.”
It might not suddenly solve all the world’s ills, but it’s a pretty beautiful statement, from someone in a field that is all-too-often polarized to extremes for political ends. Thanks, Brittany, for serving your community and being open-minded while you’re doing it.
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