A movement not a moment

25 Jun

I remember when I posted my initial “We are enough” blog, I had mentioned how important it was to me that I use my voice now; not only to help educate people, but to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. Because that’s exactly what it is; a movement. It’s not just a moment and people need to realise that. 

I guess that a lot of you will have noticed how different your timelines and news feeds have been over the past week or so: the lack of Black Lives Matter posts, the lack of media coverage regarding what’s going on with BLM around the world, and this is exactly what we need to avoid. The point of the Black Lives Matter movement is to consistently and persistently bring awareness to the fact that Black lives are in danger throughout the world and to fight to put an end to this and to the injustice that POC suffer. The fact that your news feed is slowly going back to “normal” (if that’s what you’d like to call it) doesn’t necessarily mean that you have forgotten what’s going on or has gone on. Nor does it mean that you think that the situation is any less important now than it was two weeks ago. But what it does mean, is that a lot more people are moving on with their day to day lives and focusing their attention on other things; a lot of which will be immaterial and insignificant, if not irrelevant, in comparison. 

Did you notice that although BLM protests have continued, the media is not giving as much attention to them now that the riots have stopped? Peaceful protests are still going on all around the world: we just aren’t being shown them now that the Black protestors can’t be depicted as the stereotypical violent people that they all apparently are. Let this serve as a reminder that a few weeks of us collectively saying Black Lives Matter does not solve the issue: racism is still present as demonstrated in this case by the media. 

Just this past weekend I replied to a number of racist tweets posted in response to a post put up by the Conservative party. The people I replied to were all White and were absolutely outraged at the fact that, on Father’s Day, the Conservative party had chosen to post a photo of a Black father and son. They were outraged that they were not being represented. They were outraged as “The typical UK family is NOT Black”. They were outraged because “It is endemic in black communities for there to be absent fathers” so they shouldn’t be a representation of Father’s Day. The fact that there are still such ignorant people out there who have such outrageously racist views and who openly express them despite all that has gone on in the past month, the media coverage that the movement has had and the educational resources that have been made available to us all, absolutely disgusts me. 

It more than upsets me to see that so many Black people in the States have been victims of further police brutality, hangings and murder since the death of George Floyd 31 days ago. We have seen videos of the police using the same choke hold (which is NOT a technique they are taught to ever use) on other Black individuals. Just yesterday I saw a video where the police officer who was using this technique only stopped when his colleague pointed out that somebody was recording him. What would have happened if he hadn’t have noticed the camera? Would we be hearing of the next George Floyd? In less than a month, 6 Black people have been found hanging from trees in California, Georgia, New York, Oregan and Texas and not one investigation has been opened into their deaths. They have all been ruled suicides. Otis Gulley. Malcolm Harsch. Robert Fuller. Dominique Alexander. Tete Gulley. Not all victims have been named. 

Raymond Winbush, a psychologist who has treated hundreds of Black men and boys since 1976, has spoken up on this matter; stating how uncommon it is for young Black men to commit suicide in the States, let alone by hanging. Yet no investigations have begun? We’re expected to believe that in a matter of weeks this has happened 6 times? Just ever so coincidentally at the exact same time that the fire surrounding the racial war rages on? These are lynchings and they should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law.  

The Black Lives Matter movement was started in 2013 by 3 women in America following the death of Trayvon Martin who was shot on his way to a family friends house and who’s killer was subsequently acquitted. According to the co-creators of this movement, BLM is “an ideological and political intervention in a world where black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” The goal of BLM is “to build the kind of society where black people can live with dignity and respect." This is all we are fighting for. To be able to live with dignity, respect and equality. To put an end to the targets that have been intentionally and systematically put on our backs. 

I won’t lie, there’s not much to this post other than to serve as a reminder to people that this is still an ongoing issue. This is a movement. So please don’t just forget what’s gone on or what continues to go on. Don’t let it fall to the back of your mind because your news feed is again slowly beginning to become nothing other than jokes, memes and people’s barbecue pictures. Continue to educate yourselves, watch documentaries, read books and articles and academic journals, listen to podcasts. But whatever you do, do not let this become just a moment in your life that you will look back on and regret. Continue to use your voice, fight for what is right and stand with the movement. 

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