America has erupted over the past week as the country mourns George Floyd, an innocent black man murdered at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis. In cities across the United States and the UK, communities have taken to the streets to outcry the injustice of these lives lost at the hands of the police and stand up to the inherent racism embedded in wider society.
Racial discrimination and police brutality are not rooted in American soil. Last month, Belly Mujinga was spat at in a racial attack at her workplace in Victoria station, London. Recently, Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara was tasered in the presence of his five-year-old son by police in Manchester. It’s time for people to act on their outrage for racial violence, recognise their positions of privilege and take action against racism.
Last night (Wed 3 June), more than 1,000 people marched to the police station in Brighton & Hove to hold a vigil, indicating the significance of the George Floyd protests even amidst lockdown restrictions. This came with the news that the charge for Dereck Chauvin, the officer who knelt on George’s neck for several minutes, was to be upgraded to murder in the second degree, as well as reports that over 10,000 people have been arrested during protests against racism.
There is little more we can say in the form of social commentary that hasn’t already been strikingly articulated by many incredible voices online and in the media. It is imperative to centre the narrative for Black Lives Matter around black communities – their experiences and their suffering. Below, you will find a list of suggestions and links to explore if you wish to take part in mobilising the movement, including how to protest safely.
Racism has permeated every facet of life. Being an ally does not just mean being anti-racist anymore; the end to racial discrimination implicated in the long term. People have a moral obligation to act on their privilege and speak out against these vicious crimes that have been terrorising the black community for centuries. As an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s vital to educate yourself on Black history and learn how these historical events have filtered into today’s society. It’s time for us to pause, listen and learn amplify voices within black communities around the world.
What to read? Here is some suggested reading from incredible writers for people to seeking to learn more:
Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Claud Anderson, Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
gal-dem, I Will Not Be Erased
Layla F Saad, Me and White Supremacy
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Afua Hirsch, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider.
Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
What to watch or listen to? There is plenty of television series, films, documentaries and podcasts available to watch to help you understand the history of black oppression.
James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro. Film available to rent.
Ava DuVernay, Selma. Film available to rent.
Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975. Film available to rent.
Ava DuVernay, 13th. Television series on Netflix.
The Guardian, Black Sheep. Documentary short.
Justin Simien, Dear White People. Television series on Netflix.
Spike Lee, Do The Right Thing. Film available to rent.
The New York Times, 1619. Podcast available on all major platforms.
Reni Eddo-Lodge, About Race. Podcast available on all major platforms.
Kamran Rosen, Let’s Talk About Race. Podcast available on all major platforms.
Changing habits. We must also recognise the intersection of black economic power with black political power. It’s hugely important to buy products and services from black-owned businesses wherever you can to ensure their stability in the UK and communities all over the world. Consider re-evaluating where you’re choosing to part with your money and ask yourself if these brands are inclusive. You can find a directory of UK black-owned businesses here: https://www.ukblackowned.co.uk/
Sign & Donate
It takes a few seconds to sign a petition, which helps families who have lost loved ones to seek justice.
Sign the petition to encourage the Department of Education to include the realities of British imperialism and colonialism into the national curriculum.
If you are financially able to, please consider donating to as many causes as possible. Links to organisations are both US and UK based to support the movement:
George Floyd Memorial Fund: Donations go directly towards a fund for George’s children and the rest of his family.
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to seek an end to discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.
The Bail Project: A tool to prevent incarceration and combat racial and economic disparities in the bail system in America.
Black Visions Collective: Minnesota organisation working towards healing and transformative justice principles to help develop black leadership in the state.
Northside Business Support: Money raised goes towards businesses affected by the demonstrations in America.
Campaign Zero: Taking action to end police violence in America by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.
Black Lives Matter: Official organisation of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Stand Up To Racism UK: Find information on local groups and resources.
100 Black Men of London: A community-based charity led by Black men delivering programmes and activities focused on Mentoring, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Health & Wellness.
StopWatch UK: Monitors police action in the UK, particularly the stop and search protocol.
Black Minds Matter: Fundraiser to pay in full for therapy sessions for black individuals and families in the UK with certified, professional, black practitioners.
Black Protest Legal Support UK: A hub of Lawyers and legal advisors providing free legal advice and representation to UK Black Lives Matter activists and protesters.
Take Action: Brighton demonstration
Brighton’s Black Lives Matter protest will be taking place on Sat 14 June at Madeira Drive. While coronavirus must be taken seriously, people across the UK have spoken out about how the stream of racist attacks has ignited a state of emergency around the world.
Sat 14 June, 1pm – Silent Madeira Drive protest. A stationary protest starting from Madeira Drive, which will follow with a march at 1.30pm from Brighton Palace Pier. Follow the Facebook event page for regular updates.
Regardless of whether you think protests should be taking place during the pandemic, they are happening. It’s vital that people know how to attend these protests safely. If you are confident you are well enough to attend, please consider the following:
Protect yourself and others: Wear gloves, face masks and keep two metres apart. Do not attend if you have had any recent symptoms or have any doubt about your health. There are other ways to show support and solidarity, such as spreading awareness on social media or donating to vital causes.
Stay hydrated: bring plenty of water and snacks to sustain yourself during the protest. Remember to bring sunscreen no matter what the weather is.
Be aware, respect the protest: Ensure you are keeping two metres apart as there will be no one maintaining or checking the distance for you. Any obvious breaches of lockdown could jeopardise the intention of the protest. People are advised to wear non-identifiable clothes to ensure you blend in with the rest of the demonstration. The protest on Sat 14 June along Madeira Drive is silent – there will be no shouting or chanting, but signs are strongly encouraged to stand in solidarity and to differentiate yourself from beachgoers.
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