#BlackLivesMatter

Image credit: @elyshia.design

I have a long string of posts that I was going to write this week, but it didn’t feel right to continue creating fashion and beauty content without addressing what is happening in the world right now. In the same way that this blog is a place for me to express myself creatively, it is also my place to talk about my thoughts, opinions and things that are important, and I wanted to write a post in wholehearted support of #BlackLivesMatter.

Truthfully, and quite rightly, since the release of the devastating footage of George Floyd’s murder, I have been able to think about nothing else since. I feel horrified, helpless, angry, devastated, guilty. This was a sickening display of violence, racism and abuse of power, just one among the countless others that are not caught on camera, and for which the perpetrators are not held accountable. I am ashamed at how easy it has been to avoid uncomfortable conversations in the past, that it took such an atrocity to finally shock us, and that I am only now starting to properly wake up to the realities that black people still face in the so-called ‘land of the free‘ and indeed all over the world.

In all honesty, I used to think it was enough to be ‘non-racist’, but now I realise that this is a huge part of the problem. We are all guilty of being bystanders at some point in our lives, of making mistakes, or saying the wrong things. It can be tempting to defend your actions as a non-racist in these situations, but such a vehement denial is neither constructive to the conversation about racism, nor considerate to those who experience the negative effects of such thoughts and actions. As white people, it is time to educate ourselves about the ways in which we have all been complicit, often unknowingly, in structural racism, as well as learning to recognise and understand the differences between black and white experience, even in terms of basic, everyday activities. I am regretful that I have learned more, and been exposed to more over the last week or so, than I have in the last year, and I am vowing to do something about it.

One of the most prominent phrases I have seen being shared during the protests is ‘silence is compliance‘, a poignant message that should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. As Angela Davis simply puts it, ‘In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist’. Uncomfortable conversations can tempt us to ignore issues, sweep things under the carpet, fearing and wincing at the word ‘racism’ itself. But it is only through acknowledging that conversations about racism are conducive to change that we can finally begin to transform the narrative. We must learn, we must challenge and we must vow to do better.

I am the first to admit that I am far from as knowledgeable as I should be. There are numerous aspects of white privilege and discrimination that I had never even considered before now, and I know that I have a lot more to learn. As a white person in the UK, you may feel unsure of how to help in this situation or feel as if it is not ‘your place’ to say, but there are still ways we can play our part in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, namely by breaking our silence and educating ourselves.

There have been some extremely informative and helpful resources circulating around on the internet, and I wanted to compile a list of some of the ones that I have seen in this post to share with you.

PETITIONS

One of the most comprehensive lists of petitions I have come across was in this link created by twitter activist @dehyedration. You can access multiple petitions (including US Zip codes for internationals), as well as donation platforms, resources and information for protestors. It took me roughly 10 minutes to do about 15 of the petitions, and I will ensure to go back and sign them all. You can simply save the link and go back to it if you can’t do it all in one go. *Please note that change.org petitions will require you to confirm your email address afterwards*. Click here to access the website.

DONATIONS

It can be difficult to know where to donate to at this time, but there are multiple places you can contribute. The link I shared above shares an extensive list of donation platforms but I will also list some below.

List of donation platforms: VIEW HERE

The Minnesota Freedom Fund: DONATE HERE

George Floyd Memorial Fund: DONATE HERE

Black Lives Matter: DONATE HERE

READING

  • ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’, Reni Eddo-Lodge: sold out on Amazon but available at Waterstones.
  • ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’, Dr Maya Angelou: available on Amazon.
  • ‘White Fragility’, Robert DiAngelo: available at Waterstones.
  • ‘Heavy: An American Memoir’ Kiese Laymon: available at The Book Depository.
  • ‘Me and White Supremacy’, Layla Saad: available in hardback at Waterstones.

 

WATCHING

  • When They See Us – Netflix series
  • The Innocence Files – Netflix documentary series
  • American Son – Netflix film
  • 13th – Netflix Documentary
  • I am Not Your Negro – Available on Amazon Prime
  • Let the Fire Burn – available on Amazon Prime

 

EMAIL TEMPLATES

One of my fellow bloggers @junclarekim also has extremely helpful email addresses and templates available for people to copy and paste and send to the relevant places for a call to action. Click here for her profile to message her and access them.

 

These are just a few of the resources that I have seen circulating over the last week or so. Undoubtedly, there are many more, and feel free to send me some yourself after reading this post. We must be outraged, active and vocal now. But what is equally as important as what happens now, is what is going to happen later. I have been reading, donating and sharing alongside everyone else, but this spur in activism requires longevity, energy and action to make a real change, and this begins with challenging the covert racism that is hidden in everyday life. Our understanding of what constitutes ‘racism’ needs to change, to ensure that it doesn’t take the murder of an innocent man for us to finally recognise it. We must open our eyes and ears.

I hope this post could provide you with some useful resources that can help us all to ‘play our part’. I want to change, I want to improve and to educate myself, and for my black friends to know that I stand with them. #BlackLivesMatter