United we stand…: #BlackLivesMatter

United we stand…: #BlackLivesMatter

After the recent events in America, I showed my support, not only for the victims of police brutality but also those who experience racism on a day-to-day basis at an event in Nottingham. The event allowed members of the public to stand on a podium and share their views on the broken system, political and social injustice in the UK, post-Brexit racism as well as their personal experiences with racism and to say the least, I was amazed at how many people actually:

  1. Showed their support
  2. Share a common ground when it comes to the topic of racism

Excuse my ignorance but racism is the elephant in the room that many fail to acknowledge its role in modern society so I would’ve presumed that some may want to continue to not acknowledge the common denominator that seems to be the root cause of not only the events which have occurred last weekend but also most social and political decisions (EU Referendum) so to see a number of people like myself and few friends of mine have enough courage to show their support for this movement truly amazed me.

We had a range of speakers, all members of the public volunteer to express their frustration and words of wisdom from community workers to even children. The public event was only a few hours long but it certainly opened my eyes to how far behind in terms of racial inclusiveness considering that we class ourselves to be living in a ‘multicultural’ society. Here are a two (obvious) key points that struck me:

  • Racism starts in the household: Two small children bravely stepped to the podium to clarify their view on racism with a simple quote: ‘I know racism exists because the white kids are treated better.” Now, this could be taken in several ways but it reminded me of a recent time when my sister told me during a conversation in Madrid that my niece is being racially profiled by not only school children in her class but their parents and teachers too. She lives a predominately white area so it should be no surprise but to hear that some of her classmates were making inappropriate jokes about the colour of her skin and hair disgusted me because young children would only pick this type of mentality from their parents. To make matters worse, the situation was completely ignored and never dealt with which just adds more fuel to the fire and it frankly bothers me.
  • #BlackLivesMatter has grown to be more than what it is – The movement was originally founded after the death of Trayvon Martin and it has continued to fulfil its purpose to ensure that black lives are ‘no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise’ by the state but to some it’s more than our lives that matter – our culture and heritage too matters and should be highly respected. We have black celebrities publicly scrutinised in the past for rocking braids/cornrows which were classed as ghetto now the latest new trend introduced by the saviour that is Kim Kardashian and our big lips and asses have been the butt of jokes (no pun intended) in the past but now a must have since Kylie Jenner decided to artificially fill hers in and Iggy Azalea became a thing and this is just the beginning. Our efforts are constantly sidelined in nearly every industry from movies (see #OscarsSoWhite and #BAFTAsSoWhite trends) to music (#BRITSSoWhite) so #BlackLivesMatter in the sense that we should ALL not the select few should be treated and respected the same way white people do.
Appreciation or Appropriation?

Appreciation or Appropriation?

One phrase that was frequent was the term solidarity. Solidarity is paramount if we want to see a change anytime soon. We need to stop analysing where we place on this social hierarchy and all use our voices and platforms, no matter how small to bring these issues to light and continue this movement. We also need to start acknowledging our history and also encourage our young ones to do so also. Knowledge is power and knowing the true events of our history can invalidate all of the manipulative news that is fed to us through state-owned media corporations.

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Learn from the past, Prepare for the future.

If we are to see any progression, we need to stick together at all times not just through hardships. We need to keep using the hashtag whenever you can and make our voices heard as well as actively support each other: peaceful protests, donations, supporting black owned businesses and institutions, the options are endless but we cannot stop now.

The Black Lives Matter rally in Brixton, south London, to protest against police brutality in the US. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The Black Lives Matter rally in Brixton, south London, to protest against police brutality in the US. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

United we stand, Divided we fall.

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