Since the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots worldwide, I haven’t posted anything about the situation. Mostly because I haven’t known what to say. I still don’t.
But, silence isn’t enough, even today, on ‘Blackout Tuesday’ – it’s important to stand side-by-side in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but is there more we can do?
So, in light of UK Black Pride’s advice, I think it’s on those of us in a position of privilege to do what we can. Whether that’s white privilege, financial privilege, gender privilege, or any other way we might have a platform to call for change, it is on us to do so.
It begins with education.
Donate to the UK’s ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ – the UK’s leading anti-racism education charity.
It then becomes action.
Another petition, launched on the website wecantbreathenational.org, states that it is calling on Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman to arrest and charge the police officers involved with Mr Floyd’s death with second degree murder. Sign it here.
Sign the NAACP petition demanding the “appointment of an independent special prosecutor to lead the federal government’s full and impartial investigation of the murder of George Floyd”, the “resinstitution by the Department of Justice of consent decrees on police departments and municipal governments across this country that have demonstrated patterns of racism towards and mistreatment of people of colour” and the “sweeping police reform–federal legislation mandating a zero-tolerance approach in penalising and/or prosecuting police officers who kill unarmed, non-violent, and non-resisting individuals in an arrest”.
In April, Belly Mujinga, a black railway worker, died two weeks after being spat at while working at Victoria station in London by a man who claimed he had coronavirus. The British Transport Police recently confirmed that no further action is being taken in relation to her death, stating that there is “no evidence to substantiate any criminal offences”. – Donate to the GoFundMe established to support her family, including her daughter. ALSO sign the petition to find her attacker and demand PPE for front line travel workers.
Back in 1993, the year I was born, Stephen Lawrence was killed in a racist attack. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust “aims to be a fitting legacy to Stephen’s memory” by supporting young people “to transform their lives by overcoming disadvantage and discrimination”, encouraging greater diversity in businesses and “continuing to campaign for fairness and justice”. You can donate to them here.
The Movement for Black Lives is a global initiative that aims to create for black organisations to conduct conversations about current political conditions. Find out more about them and donate here.
Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Foundation – a non-profit organisation that provides funds for protesters who have been arrested and need to pay bail in order to avoid being imprisoned.
Donate to the Bail Project – You can ensure your donation is split among several bail funds on the ActBlue website. These 37 bail funds include the Philadelphia Bail Fund, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, the Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund Network and the Mississippi Bail Fund Collective.
In the UK, find out more about / donate to the Runnymede trust, the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. We generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.
Call out the bullshit.
Inactivity is one thing – virtue signalling is another.
Back in 2017, L’Oréal dropped model Munroe Bergdorf, a black / trans British model for calling out white supremacy in the industry. When L’Oréal posted about solidarity with the BLM movement, she called them out:
This morning, actress Sammie Ware called out fellow Glee star Lea Michelle for a campaign of racist micro-aggressions on-set during the show, including threatening to ‘shit in her wig’. So after Lea Michele posted about the BLM movement? Sammie Ware had some things to say:
This could go on and on, but the important thing is that it’s not what you post – it’s the action that you take.
Especially for me, my family, and all my white friends, we need to come to terms with centuries of racism. We may not have propagated it, but we continue to benefit from it.
We need to use our privilege to champion the careers, artistry, entrepreneurship, justice, lives of the BAME community.
Boycott the brands, companies, and clients that do not have justice and equality as core values.
And, if you can, give a platform to BAME voices.
So, to round up, 10 steps that we as white people can follow to actively be better allies from Mireille Cassandra Harper on Twitter.
1. Understand what Optical Allyship is
“Allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally’, it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress.”Latham Thomas
2. Check in on your black friends, family, partners, loved ones, and colleagues
This is an emotional and traumatic time for the community, and you checking in means more than you can imagine. Ask how you can provide support.
3. Be prepared to do the work
Understand that coming to terms with your own privelege will not be a pretty or fun experience. It is necessary to feel feelings of guilt, shame, and anger throughout the process.
4. Read up on antiracist works
It is not enough to dislike racism, you need to work towards antiracism.
5. Avoid sharing content which is traumatic
Whatever your intentions, it is vital to consider sharing videos of black people being abused and hurt can be both traumatic and triggering for many black people. Avoid sharing this content as it increases also to the dehumanisation of black people.
6. Donate to funds and support initiatives
Consider supporting platforms and initiatives which support black people, such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, support black-owned funding platforms like Kwanda and sign petitions. Put your MONEY and PEN where your mouth is.
7. Do not centre this narrative around yourself
Whilst it is nice that you can relate and empathise, now is not the time to insert your personal experiences into a narrative that isn’t about you. This is actually harmful and takes away from the severity of the situation. Leave your ego.
8. Keep supporting after the outrage
It should not take an act of brutality or the virality of a situation for you to suddenly show your support. Keep supporting black media, black initiatives, charitable organisations and continuing your work AFTER the attention has died down.
9. Stop supporting organisations that promote hate
If you read pieces on media platforms that promote hate or fund supremacist and hateful organisations, you are contributing to the problem. Equally, stop supporting organisations that love ‘black culture’, but fail to speak up on issues affecting the black community.
10. Start your long-term strategy
How are you making a long-term impact or affecting change? Can you mentor a young person? Can you become a trustee for an organisation that supports the black community? Could you offer your time to volunteer? Make the effort to do something valuable over a long-term period.