The Black Lives Matter movement has received a lot of attention over the last week. Protests took place across the world after the death of George Floyd, a 46 year old, unarmed black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd’s death sparked outrage, leading people to take to the streets to express their anger and pain at police violence and racism in America.
Many people in Ireland have been sharing their support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, including at a protest in Dublin that had over 5,000 attendees, and with plans for more marches.
Learn more about the history of the Black Lives Matter movement.
How to support Black Lives Matter
Here are some ways you can show your support for #BlackLivesMatter:
Signing a petition is a way to add your name to a demand for change. There are many petitions online that will allow you to show your support for the movement, express your anger at police violence, and call for people in power to create change. You can find a list of petitions to sign from this Black Lives Matter resource, along with postcodes to use if they are needed and you do not live in the US.
Donate to an organisation
There are many local groups doing work on the ground in different cities to support protesters, help families of victims, and carry out campaigns. You can show your support by donating to these causes – even a small amount can help. You can find a list of places that are accepting international donations here. This page also gives details on how you can offer financial support when you have no money.
Listen when people share their experiences
When people are sharing their experiences of racism or police violence, it’s important to listen. If you are not a minority, you will never know what it’s like to experience racism, and it is not your place to tell someone that they are wrong about their own life experiences. Avoid talking over people or trying to compare what they’ve been through with stories of your own. Sometimes it’s better to just sit back, and listen.
Educate yourself on racism
Things will not change if people do not make the effort to learn about racism. Watch films, read books, and follow people who are talking about racism online. It might be uncomfortable to face the reality of racism, but it’s important to take this time to learn. This also means thinking about certain assumptions you might have about minorities, and challenging them.
Report racist content online
If you see racist comments on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement, or about any minority, report it to the platform. Ignoring it sends a message that racism is acceptable, but racism is never okay. Find out more about what to do when you see racism online.
Protesting online or in person
Protesting is an effective way of showing that people care about an issue. There have already been protests in Ireland in support of Black Lives Matter, and more are planned. There is more than one way to protest, although marches are the most popular kind of protest.
COVID-19 restrictions mean that large gatherings are not allowed under current Government guidelines. Attending a protest means there is a risk of spreading COVID-19. However, there are protests that are still planning on going ahead. If you are going to attend a protest, wear a mask if you can, and do your best to keep your distance from other people. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, do not go to the protest.
If you choose not to attend a protest due to COVID-19, or you are unable to attend, you can still find other ways to protest. Make a sign and share it on social media, take it with you on a walk around your neighbourhood, or put it in your window. Go online and share posts under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, and talk to the people in your life about the importance of fighting racism.
Fighting racism in Ireland
In addition to supporting protesters in the US, take time to learn about the organisations fighting racism in Ireland too. There are many causes you can get behind, including calling for an end to Direct Provision, Ireland’s system for housing asylum seekers.
Here are some organisations you can support:
- Irish Network Against Racism
- Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
- Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
- Irish Refugee Council
- Black Pride Ireland
- Irish Council for Civil Liberties
- Cairde – Challenging ethnic minority health inequalities
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