It is okay to feel overwhelmed right now. It’s been little over a week since the footage of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight by four police officers was first seen on social media. Since then, there has been an explosion of peaceful protests, marches, social media campaigns, donation pages, and more. It’s therefore easy to feel like your individual actions won’t or can’t make an impact, and it’s even easier to sit back and be silent. But right now, it couldn’t be more vital that each and every one of us pay attention, force change, and refuse to allow another senseless death to be in vain. The systemic racism and brutality within the Minneapolis Police Department is not unique, and is not exclusive to America. George Floyd’s death has brought the racism integral to America, Britain, and beyond to the forefront of our minds and hearts, and it is urgent that we take action now – while the world is still watching. We have compiled a list of resources so that you can take action, learn about white privilege, amplify black voices, and support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The quickest and most effective way to support the movement and demand justice for George Floyd is by donating money, if you are able to. Here are some incredible organisations that you can support:
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: all donations go directly to the family of George Floyd to support them during this time and help fund a memorial service for George.
- Black Lives Matter – You can donate directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, a global campaign to ‘eradicate white supremacy and and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.’
- Reclaim the Block – Minneapolis based organisation to defund the Minneapolis PD and redirect those funds to the community, in order to ‘strengthen community-led safety initiatives and reduce reliance on police departments’.
- Campaign Zero – Campaign to end police violence and hold police officers guilty of violence, excessive force, and murder accountable.
- Black Visions Collective – A black, trans, queer led campaign to strengthen and amplify black leadership in Minnesota.
2. GET INVOLVED
Due to the coronavirus pandemic we implore that you take every precaution possible while attending demonstrations. If you or a member of your household have Covid-19 symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, please DO NOT attend.
- BLACK LIVES MATTER BRIGHTON: SAFE AND SILENT PROTEST: Saturday 13 June, Madeira Drive, 1pm
This Safe and Silent protest has been organised by Black Lives Matter Brighton. Those attending have been asked to assemble at the Sea Life centre at 1pm, and then silently sit in a line along Madeira Drive, spaced two metres apart, in a show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. Event organisers have spoken to Brighton council to ensure this demonstration is safe and legally sound, and there will be a first aider on site. Ultimately, it is down to each individual to ensure that they are taking part safely. This includes bringing water, snacks, masks, wearing black, nondescript clothing, and ensuring you keep 2 metres apart at all times. It would also be prudent to remind yourself of your legal rights when protesting, more information on this can be found here. Official guidance on your Stop and Search rights can also be found here.
The Black Lives Matter Brighton: Safe and Silent Protest has joined forces with another demonstration, originally due to take place this weekend. The ‘Justice for George Floyd’ march will now take place immediately after the silent protest, at around 1.30pm. The Badger spoke to Andi Baydur, co-organiser of the Justice for George Floyd march. They told us:
‘My friend Emily and I were extremely riled up by the murder of George Floyd and all the injustice towards BIPOC, and it made us feel incredibly uncomfortable that we weren’t doing anything proactive about it apart from donating and sharing information. At the time there were no other events that had been organised, but then we realised there was a Black Lives Matter Brighton event happening the following weekend. We decided to join forces with the BLM event which is well established, and well versed in organising large public events. We also know that they will hold the safety of others to the highest standard.’
The Badger asked Andi why they thought it was so important that people attend these events. They said:
‘I believe it is vital for those who live in the UK to be as involved as they are able to … this time we are living through is going to cause a shift in history and I sincerely hope that people will forever leave behind discriminatory behaviour based on one’s colour.’
‘To stand in solidarity has always been important to BIPOC, but I believe this is a pivotal time to make a change. People can no longer simply stand by and watch this injustice continue, it is time for everyone to take a stand together, and remove the plague of discrimination. Police brutality is happening all around the world, and the UK is far from innocent. Change has to happen right now, and it starts with individual words and actions.’
3. EDUCATE YOURSELF
Take this opportunity to learn about white privilege and how to dismantle it, to learn how to be an ally, and to decolonise your bookshelf. Try reading:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge
- How to be an Antiracist, Dr. Ibraham X. Kendi
- Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
- So you want to talk about race? Ijeoma Oluo
- This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour, Cherrie Moraga
- Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
- Me and White Supremacy, Layla. F Saad
- The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
- Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala
- Brit(ish), Afua Hirsch
4. KNOW WHEN TO BE QUIET
If you are white, try to recognise when you are taking up space that isn’t yours. That doesn’t mean say or do nothing, it means take a conscious effort to amplify POC voices. This is not the time to take part in performative instagram chains so you feel like your work is done. This is also not the time to ask people of colour to explain things to you. Take time out of your day to research black and POC pages who are sharing vital information, and share their content in abundance. Here are some people to follow on social media:
- Johnetta Elzie, one of the leading figures in the Black Lives Matter movement (@nettaaaaaaaa)
- Rachel E Cargle, academic, writer, lecturer, race and critical thinking (@rachel.cargle)
- Charlene Carruthers, director of Black Youth Project 100, author, activist (@charlenecarruthers)
- Mona Chalabi, Data Editor, creates striking infographics about inequality in the US (@monachalabi)
- Aaron Philip, trans model and activist, writes frequently on race and violence (@aaron__philip)
- Munroe Bergdorf, model, trans activist, UN Women advocate, (@MunroeBergdorf)
- Akala, artist, author, public speaker and educator (@akalamusic)
5. TAKE ACTION DAILY
Above anything else, the most important thing you can do is to call out racism in your everyday life. That might mean having some tricky conversations with problematic family members, but activism begins at home. Your efforts should also continue long after the dust has settled on the protests. Racial injustice is a widespread, global issue, and it isn’t going to go away overnight.
Students at the University of Sussex have published an Open Letter to VC Adam Tickell, asking him to take more direct action to address racial inequalities here at Sussex. In the letter, they highlight the awarding gap between black and white students, and the staggering lack of black academic staff. The letter reads:
‘The University of Sussex has a 26% awarding gap between white and Black students and only 2.2% Black academic staff and 0 female Black professors. In addressing this, the University has publicly committed to tackling the awarding gap and even signed up to the Race Equality Charter (REC). Although the University of Sussex has many great initiatives, including Decolonize Sussex and BAME Ambassadors in half the Schools, these initiatives are exclusively spearheaded by individual or groups of students and staff, and often poorly, or not, supported and financed by the University, failing to honour their commitment to addressing race equality. The University needs to do better and actively support and encourage such initiatives and the Black and ME leaders who are working hard to make the University a better place.’
To read and sign the open letter, click here.
The Badger would like to express their unwavering solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and we join millions of others in demanding justice for George Floyd and his family, and the countless others who have lost their lives to police brutality. We hope you can join us in using these resources to further the cause, and push for long-lasting change.
Image Credit: Frankie Cordoba