• Jess Steward

Black Lives Still Matter

Over eight months on from Blackout Tuesday, how far have we come?

Approximately eight months on from when timelines were filled with black squares, and riots and protests were happening globally, we can look back and see that the interest in the Black Lives Matter movement was just another example of somewhat performative activism. This may not be the case for many, but it's clear that we need to learn how to make a difference in a world where prejudice is so deeply entrenched.

It is difficult to make a change when people seem to suggest that the issue of racism has been sorted, or no longer exists. But thus far, nothing has really changed at all. George Floyd was just one example of police brutality, and unfortunately it didn’t stop there. Ultimately, the job is not done, and we must continue with the same rigour as many had eight months ago. Posting black squares because it was a trend is not enough. Change must come from within. It is not enough to seem like an ally; you must actively become one and make changes, however small.

The most important thing to do is to not let the systematic racism be swept under the rug. We must continue to educate ourselves and support those who are being mistreated. It starts with something small, like pulling your ‘friends’ up on a joke with racist undertones, to supporting Black creators through sharing their Instagrams or products, to creating and signing petitions. On a larger scale, we must all continue to fight for the justice that everyone was so on board with previously.

Gaining true equality in a world where prejudice is so deeply rooted sometimes seems impossible, especially as a privileged white person, but in this position you have to power to be listened to, to be understood, far more than those who are oppressed and have been fighting for their cause for years. It is true that equality will not come overnight. There are many hurdles in the way, yet if we as a generation make a pact to do better, then when the time comes that we are leading society, these prejudices will hopefully be undone. For this to happen, we cannot remain silent. Silence is not posting on social media, or donating money. Silence is not signing free petitions for justice, it is not calling out your friends and family if they say something, Silence is the micro-aggressions - the "I don't see colour" and "I can't be racist - I have Black friends" (because everyone sees colour; we have to see colour. If we refuse to see colour, we ignore the injustice experienced by millions of people because of their race, and that is where the issue lies.)

Black lives still matter and until this is accepted and unchallenged we must work to ensure that it is. The human race is one, irrelevant of the colour of your skin, your sexuality, your gender or your background. People are people, and no one deserves to suffer at the hands of those who are there to ‘protect us’.

It will not be easy stamping out the years of injustice. We have to continue to be the changes we want to see in the world and we must push until that change is realised.

There are so many amazing BAME owned businesses and creators and we must continue to support them in any ways we can: by buying from them, liking and sharing their content (follow the hashtag 'DiversifyYourFeed') and by continuing to raise awareness about the systematically racist society we all live in. Whatever you do, do not support the anti-racist movements simply because it is trendy. Educate yourself, believe in the cause and truly aim to make a difference.


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