It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Somewhat forgot it existed. But so much has happened this year and it’s only June. We had World War Three Scares, the fires in Australia, the pandemic and so much more. But I’ve come to revive this blog to speak up on the #blacklivesmatter movement and the murder of George Floyd as well as many other black people, who did not deserve to get their lives snatched away from them.
Educating yourself is important in bettering society and opening our eyes to the reality and cruelty that is racism and discrimination. You can skip this post and disregard it but you should be playing your part in educating yourself.
On February 26th 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American student was shot to death, unarmed. Martin was visiting relatives at the Twin Lake housing community in Sanford where George Zimmerman, a community watch member, reported to the non-emergency police number that “there’s a real suspicious guy” and that he “looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something”. The police suspected Zimmerman was following Martin in which they told him “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman replied by saying “okay.”
After the call with Zimmerman and the police, there was a violent dispute between Martin and Zimmerman, even after agreeing not to follow him and that was when Trayvon Martin was shot by the back door of the house he was staying at.
At first Zimmerman was not charged but eventually, he was charged and tried but in July 2013, he was acquitted by the jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
A petition to prosecute Zimmerman was created on Change.org in 2012, resulting in 2.2 million signatures, the biggest petition in the site’s history. There were marches and rallies, one of the biggest being the “Million Hoodie March” where protesters wore hoodies to symbolise how Martin too wore a hoodie that night and they protested against racial profiling used against non-white youths who wear hoodies. Social media blew up with opinions on the acquittal of Zimmerman.
In 2013, Obama gave his speech about the trial and race in the US, adding “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” There were peaceful rallies that followed this across many cities.
The 2013 acquittal of Zimmerman on the charge of murdering Martin, inspired a Facebook posting that included #blacklivesmatter, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement created by Black organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
That’s how the movement began.
And now, as you all know George Floyd was murdered, also unarmed. And many more black people before him. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Samuel Dubose. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Terrence Crutcher. The list goes on.
George Floyd was murdered by white policeman Derek Chauvin with the help of three other officers, who kneeled on his neck preventing him from breathing. Much like Eric Garner, he repeated “I can’t breathe” multiple times before he died. His cause of death was asphyxiation AND RACISM!
He was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20. Compare this to Dylann Roof, a white mass murderer, who executed the Charleston church shooting. Unlike George Floyd, only suspected of forgery, Dylann Roof was arrested peacefully for his murders. He was not killed.
Floyd’s death was a result of inhuman police brutality. And that police brutality stems from the already existing racist system. It did not become like that, it was built like that. Built on black slavery.
But George Floyd will not die in vain.
A lot of people over the past weeks have been unclear on what white privilege is. It’s the advantages that come from simply being white. It means that as a white person, you do not need to fear that your skin colour may jeopardise your survival. It means you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable conversations in your day to day life. It means you don’t have to feel alienated, ostracised, judged, isolated, ridiculed in many situations just because of your skin colour.
You can be poor, disabled, gay, struggling and still have white privilege. We’re not saying that your life isn’t hard but your skin colour is not one of the things making your life hard.
It exists due to historic and enduring racism. As Little Marvin stated, “your white skin privilege is not a benign and celestial gift bestowed upon you. It is a benefit accrued over generations of erasure, and genocide, and enslavement, and torture, and capture, and segregation, and redlining, and predatory lending, and prison pipelining, and exclusion, and dismissal, and contentment, and convenience, and complacency, and neglect, and apathy, and silence. It didn’t materialise. It calcified. It wasn’t earned. It was stolen.”
White privilege allows more opportunity. I watched this video a while ago but it still stands and portrays white privilege quite well.
Yes, all lives do matter but not all lives are in danger. Black lives matter is shining light and attention onto the fact that society does not think that black lives matter. Blue lives, on the other hand, do not exist as being a police officer is a choice not an unchangeable identity; a job that requires you to protect others but that is not what is being demonstrated.
You may not have even realised you have it but it’s important to acknowledge it and use your privilege to help those who do not have it. There’s no shame in deciding to educate yourself and changing your opinions and actions because of it.
You need to play your part as a non-black member of society. Having to constantly educate and spread awareness can be emotionally and physically exhausting for black people so don’t let it rest on their shoulders only. It’s not just their responsibility to educate.
Use your privilege to fight black oppression.
“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.” – Ibram X. Kendi
What to do
It’s easy to say black lives matter and to say you stand as an ally. It’s easy to simply post a black screen for #blackouttuesday but what else are you going to do? It is not enough to just not be racist, you should step up and be actively antiracist. You should not stay silent.
Donate if and where you can. I’ve listed below places that you can donate to. However, if you can’t donate, Zoe Amira has posted an hour long YouTube video of art and music from black creators that will create a lot of ad revenue that will be split between different black lives matter organisations. All you need to do is stream it. Click here. Do not donate to change.org as donations only go to them, not the causes.
Organisations to donate to:
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- George Floyd Sister’s Fund
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Black Lives Matter
- The Bail Project
- The Liberty Fund
- Reclaim the Block
- I Run With Maud
- Campaign Zero
- Unicorn Riot
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Stand Up To Racism UK
If legally able to, try and sign these petitions below.
- Get the Officers Charged
- Justice for George Floyd
- Raise The Degree
- Hands Up Act
- Life Sentence for Police Brutality
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Justice for Tamir Rice
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
There are many more organizations and people to donate to and other petitions to sign HERE. Ones including those related to other black people who were murdered.
Signing petitions does make a difference. The three officers are now charged and the degree of murder was raised to second degree.
The George Floyd petition is now the biggest on change.org with over 13 million signatures.
»Learn and Listen
Go that extra mile in being an ally and educate yourself and others through films, books and podcasts, articles, etc.
TV Shows and Films:
- When They See Us
- The Hate You Give
- Dear White People
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- Black Power Mixtape
- Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race
- This Book Is Anti-Racist
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria
- White Fragility
- Me and White Supremacy
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
- So You Want To Talk About Race
There are many more things you can check out HERE including other books, films and podcasts, articles, websites, etc. Please have a look.
»Social Media And Protests
Use your social media platform to spread awareness and information for others to learn from. Even if it’s just ten people viewing, that’s still ten people you’re influencing. Spread awareness amongst family and friends by bringing up these conversations.
Protest if you can. Make sure you bring water, food, hide anything identificable on your body, wear masks, know your rights. I understand going to marches and rallies may not be accessible or an option for you but you can protest in other ways for example, calling out the behaviour of racists, support marginalised businesses and refuse to support companies who are not fair or who are not antiracist.
This is not just a trend – black lives always matter.
“It may take a while to comprehend your role in racist systems, but keep in mind that people are dying while they wait for you.” – Jen Winston