We’ve all witnessed the fallout from the murder of George Floyd. Protesters across America and around the world have come together to take a stand against racism. And whether you’re part of the protests or not, we all have a role to play in the solution.
I’m still learning and trying to understand what I can do to help drive change, as I’m sure many of you are too. This article was not intended to cause offence, which I hope it doesn’t, but this is my view…
Eight Minutes, 46 Seconds
Eight minutes, 46 seconds. That’s how long George Floyd had his neck under the knee of a white police officer. That’s how long he was pinned to the ground, which had him pleading, “I can’t breathe,” until he died.
Can you imagine being pinned, face-down by three police officers for that long? Can you imagine the fear that made him cry out for his mother?
Floyd wasn’t the first black American to suffer this injustice. So many black Americans have lost their lives and the lives of loved ones to racism.
Racism has always existed, but Floyd’s murder called our attention to it. It was the catalyst that woke us up from our sleep of ignorance, just like Rosa Parks and Emmet Till did in the 1950’s.
But don’t all lives matter?
This is a controversial statement. I’ve seen many people use this on social media lately, and yes, all lives do matter.
However, black lives are currently the most vulnerable to injustices because of their race. An issue that’s in dire need of attention and change. BLM is not a movement that diminishes the significance of other lives, but rather calls for unity.
The term ‘white privilege’ tends to offend many, but this doesn’t mean that white people haven’t suffered through difficulties. It simply means that these difficulties are not caused by race.
White people have the ‘privilege’ of not having to worry about their skin colour and not having anxiety every time a police car passes by; data by Mapping Police Violence in 2019 showed that Black Americans were 3 times more likely to die from a police encounter than White Americans.
“I’m Not Racist”
One thing to take from all of this, is that it isn’t enough to say or think ‘but, I’m not racist.’ Know that racism is not only physical violence, it starts with a thought and grows with ignorance. Many of us have done this, as a way of washing our conscience when we see acts of violence against black people, in a way to justify our inaction.
Instead of being inactively ‘not racist’ we must be actively anti-racist and there are many peaceful ways to do this.
Ways You Can help
Here are some of the ways you can help:
- Learn more about BLM.
- Acknowledge thoughts that may be borderline racist.
- Speak up when you see friends or family members display any forms of racism.
- Donate and sign petitions if you can.
You can learn more about how to help at: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co
Be part of the change
This time we cannot turn away again. We learn about the Black Civil Rights movement in school and in a few years, students will be learning about the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a never-ending struggle.
Racism may never go away completely. But, we can all help to drive progress; George Floyd’s death is a tragedy that wrought the whole world and sparked the demand for change.
The black lives matter movement has united people from all races and religions through peaceful protests, paving the way for us to not only be better than what we were before, but to get closer to where we need to be.
The Black Lives Matter Movement is an extremely important and personal issue for many of us in the OpinionPanel team and at our sister company YouthSight. We will be setting up our own initiatives on how we as a company can help the cause.
If you’d like to read more about the ways that you can help we also recommend reading this article from NME, which provides guidance on how you can protest peacefully and safetly, along with links to how you can offer financial support:
If you’d like to share your opinion on this topic or any other topic, you can submit your article to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The author of this article, Loren Madnack, also has an eBook available with tips and advice on how you can study more effectively. Check it out here.