George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Rekia Boyd. Aiyana Jones. Trayvon Martin. Ezell Ford. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Jamar Clark.
Say their names.
In the weeks since the murder of George Floyd, people are waking up and the facade of a progressive society is finally crumbling. We are joining the Black Lives Matter movement in solidarity to say enough is enough.
I initially avoided watching the video of George Floyd’s murder as I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. However, it was after talking with a close friend who made me realise that watching the video is not just about being a part of the conversation, but it is to remind us all that we have a duty to call out these atrocious acts of brutality.
It was harrowing. It took 8 minutes and 46 seconds for those officers to mercilessly take away the life of George Floyd. Hearing the last cries of Mr Floyd is a clear reminder of what Black people face on a daily basis. It’s validating generations of protests and cries from the Black community that something has to be done to finally put an end to this ongoing cycle of racial injustice.
I felt anger and confusion that Black people are still being murdered like this. Most of all, I felt absolutely helpless. I kept wondering how I can show my support besides just sharing a post on my Instagram story. I learned that I had to do more than just be anti-racist.
George Floyd’s murder ignited something across the world. The power of social media is that conversation, knowledge, and resources are literally at our fingertips. I began to read information on how to help the BLM movement in the US from the UK. I was amassed with links to petitions, donation pages, protest pages, information with lists of resources to read, watch and listen. In the midst of pain and sadness, people were sharing love and support.
It’s easy to criticise the US for its problems with racism, but as I began to read up more about the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole, I came to understand that the UK is far from innocent.
I have just finished reading the incredibly powerful Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Her thought-provoking account on race in Britain is as honest and real as it gets. In her book, she breaks down how racism in the UK exists within every single part of our society from education, history, gender, politics and class. The socioeconomic impact of the British Empire on colonised countries has been drastically played down throughout history, and more so on how it still very much impacts our society today. In a short film with the BBC called ‘Britain is in denial about race’, Eddo-Lodge says that “White people need to speak about institutional racism – not deny its existence” – which is the wake-up call we all need to start seeing things for how they really are.
The murders of innocent and unarmed Black citizens are not coincidences. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what’s happening every single day. It starts with us by listening. Listen to the stories and learn what you can do to help amplify those voices. Ask questions even if it means digging deep to get those answers.
As a human being, I can empathise to an extent with how my Black friends are feeling, but in no means will I ever truly understand what it means to be Black. I will no longer stay quiet and not speak up if someone tries to make a joke, or pass an ignorant comment. What I promise to do is to continue to listen, learn and respect the voices that need to be heard.
The work of the Black Lives Matter movement is far from over.
My painting to show my solidarity and support for the BLM movement. To see my full Instagram post, click here.
Below is a compilation of resources I have read, watched and listened to over the years and more recently. Some of these recommendations have been provided by friends and family too. I will continue to add further resources to the list over time.
Black Lives Matter
- The official BLM website
- Black Lives Matter – Full page of how you can help the Black Lives Matter movement from wherever you are around the world.
- Black History Month – Amazing free library with a variety of resources on prominent leaders of Black History, speeches, music, newspaper excerpts, writers, articles.
Movies / Documentaries:
- 12 Years a Slave
- Get Out
- The 13th – Netflix
- Queen and Slim
- Just Mercy
- When They See Us – Netflix
- American Son – Netflix
Books / Podcasts
- An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
- The Good Immigrant – Nikesh Shukla
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The End of Policing – Alex S. Vitale
- Natives – Akala
- About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge – Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Have You Heard George’s Podcast? – George Mpanga (aka George the Poet)