#Black Lives Matter

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When I was asked to write this blog, as honoured as I was, I also was very wary around how likely I could find the right words to convey the message I want to tell.

This past week alone has been A LOT. I have been asked to proof read, check over, advise and help people and organisations on how and what they said in response to the murder of George Floyd. As a Black person this is a lot to process, alongside the reports of COVID-19 disproportionately affecting us. 

Black people are being killed by those who have sworn to protect us. Our deaths are being justified by a range of arguments which are nothing more than excuses. This is not just happening across the pond, it is happening in Jamaica, in Brazil, Nigeria, in France and here in the UK – in London and in South London.

The hashtag has gone beyond being a solidarity post, now used to raise awareness of police brutality globally. #BlackLivesMatter has raised questions and debates around policing, the criminal justice system, how our Black community functions and what happens next.

I wish I had the answers but I do not. All I have is God. I pray he gives us the answers and solutions to do what is needed and what is right. Seeing the protests around the world, we can easily question how effective they are. I have been involved in activism for around nine years now and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. 

Social media has been giving me the idea that everyone is speaking – which to some extent is good. We are having those necessary conversations activists and organisers have been calling for. But, nothing is 100% perfect. We are seeing performative digital activism where people act like they are genuinely doing the work. 

The Black community, but also the wider BME community, is no stranger to injustice. Lived experiences have taught us a lot about what we can do during these times. But, as we are in pandemic, I am aware that everyone is different.

First, I offer some advice for good allyship for non-Black people.

Educate yourself.

There are a variety of books, talks, podcasts and so on which could provide you with a good starting point to fully understand what is happening. And donate to organisations doing the work with those who are affected by police brutality and other injustices. 

The advice I have given, and I will continue to give, to others is this:

Take regular breaks from social media.

A lot is happening right now and it is a lot to process. Create boundaries, do not be afraid to tell family and friends to stop sharing footage of the events that could trigger you. 

Check on those around you.

Now more than ever you need your family, friends and your community. Be mindful of social distancing guidelines, but still connect.

Take this time to explore your creativity.

It is an amazing outlet: write, draw, paint, dance, sing.

Breathe.

I am no way an expert on breathing, but those in the performing arts and therapists often share how we do not always explore the full wonders of how one can take a breath. 

Feel.

Feel the emotions that you usually attempt to fight, through processing them can one truly move past them. 

Pray.

As someone who believes in God, in these strange, unusual and trying times we are in, I speak with God a lot more frequently. 

I send you peace, love, light and power. 

Jemmar