Black Lives Matter is a movement – not a moment. Which is exactly why it needs continuous support. It has been moving to see the huge amount of people taking part in anti-racism protests. Yet the buzz around Black Lives Matter seems to have quietened and there is still a long way to go. Institutional racism is engrained into our society and it has been for centuries. We can’t stop showing support now, have finally got the attention of the entire world! We are standing together saying enough is enough.
Why do we need Black Lives Matter?
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been around since 2013. It was founded in response to the appalling murder of an innocent 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, in the USA in 2013. BLM is a global movement, which includes operations in the UK.
The UK likes to portray its innocence, but do not be fooled. Black men still suffer horrendous police brutality in a place that claims there is zero-tolerance for racism. Just because it isn’t on the news does not mean innocent people are not being murdered as a result of racially motivated attacks.
More recently, in May 2020, George Floyd died at the hands of a police officer. The officer pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes. The words “I can’t breathe” left the mouth of yet another innocent black man as he approached his death. The murder of George Floyd has rightly sparked global outrage. Communities are saying enough is enough, calling for an end to racism in all of its forms.
Systematic racism is engrained into our societies and is clear to see when you open your eyes. The biggest example is police brutality and this is not just in America. Far too many black men have died at the hands of Britain’s police force. However, Britain has a habit of hiding its shocking past so it’s no surprise there hasn’t been coverage of these murders.
If you aren’t convinced about racism in our society, take a moment and look around you. See the many African parents who give their children an English name to make life easier. Notice how black hair is seen as unprofessional (seriously google professional and unprofessional hairstyles, it’s a prime example). Speaking of hair, why are black women always asked if their hair is real? On that note, stop damn touching it too. These are just 2 everyday examples. There simply isn’t the time in this blog post to go into detail on all the different forms of racism Black-British people experience daily. We would be here for a very, very long time.
There have been protests across the world demanding change and an end to systematic racism. But we are in the middle of a pandemic and COVID-19 still remains a threat to everyone. The gravity of the Black Lives Matter movement has demanded action despite the risk of COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of people have put their lives at risk to protest and demand change.
Preventing the murder of innocent black people and the racism faced on a daily basis isn’t an easy job. It isn’t realistic for everyone to be protesting for various reasons, but that isn’t the only way you can show support. Here you will find some ridiculously easy ways to show that you stand against murdering innocent people based on skin colour. Activism isn’t just marching on the street and doing so isn’t for everyone. It has many forms can be a lot easier than you may think.
How you can support Black Lives Matter with minimal effort:
1. Educate yourself and those around you
Education is one of the most important ways to support Black Lives Matter. The only way to fully understand the need for a global movement to protect black lives is education. Black history is rarely taught in schools for more than a handful of lessons at best. Britains involvement in Black history, especially slavery, is very rarely mentioned. Did anyone else study how Britain was one of the biggest slave traders in the world? Or did your Black history lessons focus on how our brothers and sisters suffered with zero mention of Britain’s involvement?
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”
Now I’m not saying you need to spend hours studying textbooks. There are many TV series, films, books, podcasts, social media accounts and personal stories that can help you to learn more about Black history. By exploring Black history, you will also see how our brothers and sisters have been oppressed for what seems like forever.
The following lists aren’t exhaustive. If you’ve already seen everything I list, then go do a good old fashioned Google search for more resources. Please share them in the comments below!
Black Lives Matter on Netflix
- Who Killed Malcom X
- Dear White People
- The Life of Madam C.J. Walker
- When They See Us
- Seven Seconds
Above are only a few of the many black history-related shows and films. These are the ones that were the most powerful for me – When They See Us hit home the hardest. If you want more, Netflix has created a Black Lives Matter Collection.
Black Lives Matter in books
- Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race – Renni Eddo-Lodge
- Brit-ish – Afua Hirsch
- Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman (also a tv series)
- The Help – Kathryn Stockett
- Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad
- White Fragility – Robin Diangelo
- Slay in Your Lane – Yomi Adegoke
There are many books out there, fact and non-fiction, the above are just a handful. Don’t be surprised if you are shocked to your core by what you read. If you want more, take a look at this anti-racist reading list.
Listening to BLM
Spotify has a great playlist of artists who all speak on things black-lives-matter related. There are also many podcasts our there discussing BLM and racism in general. Similarly to Neflix, Spotify has collated podcasts and music all related to Black Lives Matter. This is a very easy way to learn as you can hit play and continue with your day. You can find Spotify’s Black Lives matter playlist by following this link.
There are so many resources out there that I simply cannot list them all here. As you can imagine far too many people have experienced racism and have died as a result. Hear their stories, share what you have learnt and help others to educate themselves too.
Don’t forget to look up names like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, Christopher Alder, Sean Rigg, Kingsley Burrell, Darren Cumberbatch, Simeon Francis, Sandra Bland the list goes on and on and on and on…
2. Actively condemn racism
Like me, you may have seen many racist posts on social media from people you would have never expected it from. What you can do here is hit them with the truth. Bombard them with indisputable facts because opinion alone will never work when speaking to a racist. It’s unlikely that a racist will change their opinion instantly, but what we can do is give them food for thought and plant the seed for change. Don’t forget to delete them from social media. You don’t need ignorance on your feed and we shouldn’t be giving racists a platform to spread their hate.
To support black lives matter its also important to condemn racism in your friendship circles and families. If you hear your loved ones talking with racial slurs, being racist in general and discriminating against others, explain to them the damage they are doing. Question why they hold their racist opinion, and distill them with facts. Use examples of how opinions like theirs have destroyed countless peoples lives and give them some perspective. At the very least inform them they cannot be racist around you.
3. Use your face mask as an opportunity to show support
Wearing face masks when you’re out in public is the reality we live in now. There are many different variations out there instead of disposable masks. So how about helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, looking fashionable, being more environmentally friendly, supporting black-owned businesses and supporting Black Lives Matter all at the same time?!
For me, this seemed like a no brainer, especially because I was already wearing a reusable mask. So I contacted the designer Fatz K (a female and black-owned business) and ordered a BLM mask. I fell in love with it and now don’t bother with my plain masks.
By wearing this mask I’m showing support every single time I step on public transport and enter a shop. There have also been quite a few lovely compliments about how people like the mask too!
Whilst we’re on the topic of wearables, how about adding some BLM details to your accessories? This could be a pin badge, a necklace, earrings a sew on patch, you name it! There’s plenty of different BLM accessories on Etsy too, which is where I found my own earrings. A lot of independent shops are also donating a percentage of the profits to the BLM movement too. Win-win!
4. Support black-owned businesses
Supporting black-owned businesses can have a huge impact. Who would you rather support – the rich white man who already has billions in the bank or the entrepreneurial black woman who is running a business to create a better life for her family? I know where I’d rather spend my money.
Sadly black-owned businesses usually don’t have huge advertisements everywhere you turn, so you might have to turn to Google for a little help. But this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to find black-owned businesses! Personally I recently found lots of black-owned hair companies based in the UK! I switched to buying from these businesses and now I have natural, organic hair products that also smell amazing!
I have also found a long list of black-owned business here in the UK. Take a look at this list of 44 UK based black-owned business to see what gems you can discover!
5. Sign a petition
To start real change, we need the backing and support from as many people as possible. As you probably know already, there are hundreds of petitions out there for a multitude of different reasons. They take 2 minutes to sign (if that) and can really help to get the necessary systematic changes discussed in Parliament.
Personally, I feel Britain should no longer hide its colonial past and all the shame that comes with it. We should learn from the past instead of pretending it never happened, so I signed a petition to get Britain’s colonial past on the school curriculum. Why not consider what angers you about racism in our country and sign a petition in that area.
To save you from doing the leg work I’ve collated a few surveys that might be of interest to yourself. As always these are just suggestions. If you find an interesting petition that I haven’t listed below, please share it in the comments below!
- Introduce Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting
- Require all police officers to take Anti-Racism education
- Encourage and support the removal of memorials that glorify the slave trade
- Improve Maternal Mortality Rates and Health Care for Black Women in the U.K.
- Make Anti-Racism training mandatory in all UK workplaces
All of the petitions I’ve mentioned above are combatting systematic racism in the UK. If you’re in a different country I have no doubt that you’ll be able to find similar petitions to support your fight against racism. If you can’t find one, you can always start your own!
Black Lives Matter needs your continuous support now more than ever
Institutional racism has been engrained into our society for far too many long and the road to dismantle it will be a long one. As long as we stay united, keep showing support and pushing against racism the journey will be much easier. Equity, not equality, is non-negotiable.
If we stand together, we can demand an end to racism. We can create change because it’s not a crime to be black. Lots of small actions equate to big change. We can show the world that Black Lives Matter.