George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has made headlines across the world, highlighting police brutality and racism in America. George Floyd, along with Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Ahmaud Arbery, are only some of the many black people who have been victims of racism. For some people racism and white privilege have been hiding in the shadows for a very long time, for others, they’re clear to see every day.
It is important that we all support the Black Lives Matter movement to help make a difference and speak out against this injustice, no matter where we live, because racism exists here in Ireland too. Here are a few ways I have come up with to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Educate yourself about the past
Unfortunately, racism and white privilege are not new concepts and they are not only relevant in America. Many cultures and communities have a long history of mistreating people of colour. Therefore, it is important that we educate ourselves about the past, and how white privilege and racism has impacted people of colour, both positively and negatively. Black Lives Matter has recently launched a ‘Watch and Listen to’ section on their website which allows you to listen to activists and leaders from the Black Lives Matter Global Network community. Simple things like listening to more people of colour on social media will help amplify their voices, ensure greater diversity and inspire others to educate themselves.
Silence is not an option
It can be difficult to admit that there is racism in Ireland too, but it’s an important part of educating ourselves. 51% of black people in Ireland say they have been harassed in the form of verbal, physical or online threats. This means that of the black people in your life, half of them will have suffered some form of verbal, physical or online abuse. Talking about racism and white privilege can be difficult, but be brave and take the first step even if you find the conversation difficult or you’re worried you don’t know enough. Racism is never okay so don’t be afraid to take a stand and talk about it with the people around you.
Support the movement online
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us cannot physically show our support to Black Lives Matter. Thankfully, we can show our support online by listening and sharing people’s stories as well as spreading positive messages against racism. There are plenty of Instagram accounts such as sacree_frangine and ChantellMarlow who are using their artistic talents to spread the message that black lives matters. Just remember to be careful about the type of content you share as distressing images and videos can be very triggering.
It can be easy to feel powerless against racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s important to remember you can make a change while at home. If you’re in a position to do so, there are many places you can donate money to. Every contribution helps, no matter how small a donation. You can donate directly to Black Live Matter on their website as well as Campaign Zero and many more anti-racism charities. You can also donate to George Floyd’s GoFundMe page which helps with the cost of his burial as well as supporting his children’s future.
There may be no simple solution to racism, but figuring out why it happens is important. By educating ourselves on the injustices minority groups have faced, and how white privilege supports these injustices, we have the power to do the right thing and report racism for what it is. Identifying what we can do to support the Black Lives Matter Movement is a step towards a brighter future.