#BlackLivesMatter

To stay quiet is to accept. Silence is compliance.

I have a platform that I can use for the better and I intend to use this platform to not only talk about public relations, influencer marketing and travel, but to talk about things that matter and things that need to be both said and heard.

I can’t ignore what’s going on around the world right now, especially when I live in New York and can see it for myself.

So many times I’ve wanted to write about the justice system in America and how it is incredibly racist. I’ve wanted to talk about White privilege and the fact that most of us don’t have to fear getting shot if we are pulled over by a police officer.

So many times I’ve wanted to put pen to paper, but could never find the right words or was too afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending someone.

I can’t think about anything else right now other than George Floyd, his family and the Black community. Why does this keep happening? Why do these police officers keep getting away with it? Why do White people keep getting away with killing their Black neighbours?

This post isn’t about me. It’s an ongoing list of resources that will be continually updated with the more that I learn and come to know.

I’m still learning how to address the situation and how to remain respectful, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you feel that I’ve got something completely wrong.

WHITE PRIVILEGE

I have White privilege. If you’re reading this and you’re White, then so do you. We are more likely to get jobs, to have a better education, to sit at the top table of an organization and to avoid prison. Why? Because of our skin colour and because of the actions of our ancestors.

White people were seen as the superior race – I’m going to assume that you already know about slavery in America – and especially in the southern states of America, this is still felt today. But look at the companies you work for in the UK. How many White people sit on the board of directors? How many White people sit at the top table?

The first way to act is by ackowledging your privilege and face the facts that yes, you will more than likely be hired for a job over a Black peer. You will more than likely not be questioned by a police officer or deemed ‘suspicious’ because of the colour of your skin. You will more than likely not be accused of something that you didn’t do because of the colour of your skin.

But you need to recognise that privilege and do something about it, because it’s not right. It shouldn’t be that way. We are all equal.

“Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America, and Black people are three times more likely to be killed than White people.” – this is taken from the Obama Foundation website, which has a great number of resources to learn more about police violence and antiracism organisations in America.

We are all humans. This is the part that I can’t wrap my head around. We are all the same, we all have the same organs, the same brains, the same ability to think, feel, love and dream. So why do Black people face racism, oppression and death just because their skin is darker than yours and mine?

What part of that is ok?

THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN AMERICA

I don’t cry at many things, especially movies or TV shows (except most episodes of Grey’s Anatomy), but when I watched When They See Us and the follow-up interview episode with the real people behind the story and Oprah Winfrey, I cried my eyes out. Never before have I cried like that at a TV show.

The story of five boys, wrongfully committed of murder when they were young teenagers was the saddest thing I have ever watched, made worse because the story was true.

But this is just one story of thousands, if not more.

Watching this made me think, What else do I not know about? How many times does this happen? How many Black people are in prison right now for something that they didn’t do?

I went to the cinema to watch Just Mercy, a movie starring Michael B. Jordan who plays a lawyer, trying to defend people on Death Row who haven’t actually committed a crime, or have been punished with the death sentence for a not very serious crime, for free.

This again, is a true story. It highlights the death penalty and how many people are sentenced to death, wrongfully committed of a crime and who shouldn’t have died. The Equal Justice Initiative that is shown in the movie is a real organisation and you can keep up to date with them here.

From what I’ve seen, there is no justice in America. George Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill and that was why he was arrested. George Floyd died over $20. Where is the justice in that?

USE YOUR VOICE

What I ask most right now is that you use your voice. Use your platform. Share an Instagram post with resources, share the work of a Black creator, link to petitions, share stories of injustice and share with your audience what is happening all over the world right now.

Please don’t stay quiet. This isn’t the time to stay silent and ignore the problem.

If you think ‘what good can I do?’, there is so much, believe me. By signing a petition and sharing it, you are donig something. By watching a documentary about Black oppression, you are learning. By reading about racism, you are becoming more aware. By donating to a Black Lives Matter foundation, you are helping.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and we can’t sit back and let this continue. Something must be done. Join the cause.

BOOKS TO READ

Right now I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. Michelle talks a lot about growing up in the South Side of Chicago, going to school with White children and going to Princeton where she was one of a very small number of Black students. The book highlights racism and inequality throughout, and I’m only halfway through.

The below books are some that I have ordered on Amazon and ones that I intend to order in the next month, to further my knowledge about racism and oppression and to also read more books by Black authors.

I have linked all of the books, should you feel inclined to also purchase.

TV SHOWS AND MOVIES TO WATCH

I have already mentioned a few of these above, but I can’t iterate how important it is to watch these and be educated about issues that are happening around us.

Even cartoon movies and musicals tell us of the inequality, racism and oppression that happened years ago and that still happen today.

TV SHOWS:

  • When They See Us (Netflix)
  • Dear White People (Netflix)
  • Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap (Netflix)
  • Time: The Kalief Browder Story (Netflix)
  • Who Killed Malcolm X? (Netflix)

MOVIES AND DOCUMENTARIES:

That I’ve watched from a range of genres:

  • 13th
  • Hairspray
  • Just Mercy
  • Remember the Titans
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • The Blind Side
  • The Green Mile
  • The Help
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • This Is England
  • West Side Story

That are on my list to watch:

  • 12 Years A Slave
  • American Son
  • Hidden Figures
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
  • King in the Wilderness (HBO)
  • Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • See You Yesterday (Netflix)
  • Selma
  • The Hate You Give (Hulu)

PETITIONS TO SIGN AND WHERE TO DONATE

Below are a number of petitions that I have signed over the past week and that you too, may want to sign. There are also a few funds to donate to, to help the family of George Floyd and to help support protesters make bail.

If you don’t have a US zipcode, use 10001 – this is the NYC zipcode.

SIGN THESE PETITIONS:

DONATE TO THESE FUNDS:

WEBSITES TO VISIT

The below websites are resources of information to educate yourself on racism, antiracism, oppression, injustice and the current state of America.

I have also signed up for a 30-day course which is designed to be an eye opener and a call to action for those who seek to be allies to black women. I very much recommend you sign up for the #DoTheWork course, created by Rachel Cargle and join me in learning more about inequality faced by Women of Colour.

DON’T SEE THIS AS ‘NOT MY PROBLEM’

That’s just once again, using your White privilege. Many of us with White skin could feel like this doesn’t affect them, but it does. How can you not be affected watching the video of George Floyd dying on the street under the knee of a police office?

How can that not make you scream that this can’t happen and that something needs to be done about his death and the racism that African Americans and Black people all over the world, face on a regular basis?

This is your problem. This is our problem. We can do something to help and we must.

I come from a very small town in the north of Ireland, and I can count on one hand the number of Black people that I ever came across in my town during the 18 years that I lived there.

Racism was a far away subject for me and not something I ever thought about or gave much thought to while I was growing up. But that’s because I lived in my little bubble of privilege and was ignorant to the wider world around me.

Racism is not a US problem, it’s a worldwide problem. It exists in your neighbourhood, in your town and in the wider cities. It probably even exists within your own family.

Since living in different cities and countries, I’ve met a vast mix of people from all over the world and of many different ethnicities. Strangely enough, they’re exactly like me. They are my friends and I would never want any of them to experience any kind of racism or aggression because of the colour of their skin.

This is your problem. It’s our problem. Sign a petition, share something to your social media feed, donate to an organisation or fund and learn about racism. Send your local MP an email, speak to your family members about racism and oppression.

Start the conversation. Continue the conversation.

Black lives matter.

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