Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Belly Mujinga are just three of the names that have appeared in posts plastered across social media in the past few days. The killing of George Floyd seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and rightly so.

In the past few days, I’ve seen post after post on social media. People have been sharing their pain, their hurt, their disgust and so much more because of how black people are still being treated in society today. This is the first time where I’ve personally seen white people take a stand as well and share their support of the #blacklivesmatter movement, again, rightly so. Enough is enough!

There comes a time where you can no longer sit in silence and pretend that racism is not prevalent. Whether it’s covert or overt is completely beside the point. It still exists and it’s an issue that we need to tackle face on. We can no longer shy away from having uncomfortable conversations with our friends, colleagues, neighbours, anyone else that will listen and even those who won’t. Because ignorance is only bliss when you’re a child. It’s time for us as black people to use our voices because we need to be and we will be heard. It’s time for white people to stand up and use their voices because not only are they the majority, but this society we live in is tailored to benefit them. It’s time to use that benefit to provoke change for those that are not the majority.

It seems like a lot of the madness that’s happening is in the US but if you genuinely think that, I’d like to stop you right now. Just a few weeks ago a black man was tased in front of his two-year-old child at a petrol station in Manchester. Similarly, a black man in North London was tased and left with life changing injuries in the past few weeks. Belly Mujinga died from coronavirus after a man who said he had the virus spat in her face whilst she was at work and let’s not forget the disproportionate amount of BAME people dying in the UK from coronavirus… where is the justice for these individuals? I find it very interesting how well the UK media share instances of racism within the US but are mighty silent when it comes to providing sufficient media coverage for instances of blatant racism that happen within the UK.

I remember when I was in sixth form, a guy asked me why there wasn’t a “White Entertainment Television” like there was a BET. Sometimes when I tell people about #IssaMovement being a black empowerment movement, I get responses like “what about people who aren’t black?” or “isn’t that racist towards people who aren’t black?”. To that guy in sixth form and to the people who ask me these questions about #IssaMovement, I truly hope that what is currently happening in the world right now answers your questions. If you’re still perplexed, maybe the questions you need to start asking are “why aren’t white people being killed like animals in the street like black people are?”, “why is there a disproportionate number of black men being incarcerated?” “why are black women less likely to be in the most senior positions in corporate companies?”.

To conclude, the passion I’m seeing on social media from both black people and people who are not black is truly amazing. I hope that when the “buzz” dies down the same people that are championing for change right now will continue to. Even when the pain isn’t so fresh and there’s no one looking, I truly hope everyone, whether black, brown or white will remember that yes.. black lives do matter.

Paula M

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