On June 1st 2020, we posted on Instagram in reaction to the senseless murder of George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter. We know this isn’t enough. We know this is a movement in time – not a moment. 5 months later, we know we must continue to fight for our Black brothers and sisters to ensure they not only receive equality, but justice too. You will have heard of Breonna Taylor; the cops who murdered her have still not been arrested.
We welcomed all comments on the post – after all, we are here to start a conversation about topics that may be uncomfortable to discuss, but where you can also learn and educate yourselves and others.
You will have seen people say, ‘But All Lives Matter too’. That is true, but all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter. All lives INCLUDE Black lives. That is a fact and we must understand that we (as a Gujarati community), hold privileges that others fight for daily. We are in no way diminishing our own struggles as a community – and these are things we will be discussing in the future – but we need to understand the problem that is affecting millions of people now and every day.
The incidents are also not isolated and not confined to America. Racial injustices continue to occur all over the world, and closer to home in the UK too. Think to the lives of Julian Cole, Mark Duggan, Stephen Lawrence, Sarah Reed, Shukri Abdi and more recently Belly Mujinga. This list sadly goes on. If you are not aware of these cases, we urge you to research and educate yourselves about the systemic racism within the institutions that were supposed to protect and provide justice for these lives. Why is it that for Black lives, protests and petitions are the only way institutions will listen – even then, rarely?
However, we know that we cannot only hold the institutions accountable when it comes to racial inequality. We echo our Instagram post when we say that the buck starts with us, at home. Racism and racist thoughts do occur in our community, in our own families – whether consciously or sub-consciously. How would your parents feel if you were to bring a Black partner home? Ask them, see how they respond. What are the perceptions that your family or friends have of Black people in general? We can almost certainly answer this one ourselves. Non-black people can sometimes perpetuate anti-blackness in other ways; engaging in micro-aggressions/stereotyping in social situations or the workplace to abusing hair styles and language, the latter two whereby Black people are berated, but others praised. It isn’t easy to challenge our elders’ way of thinking, but if you haven’t, try to open the conversation and have a dialogue about what is going on in the world and why it is so important.
Shut down racist comments when you hear them. Speak up about why it is wrong. Correct their negative perceptions. We’ve all seen the quote by Angela Y. Davis, a political activist and scholar: ‘‘In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.’’
Some of the comments we received in our Instagram post were about how these were ‘riots’ and why are we supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement when looting and rioting was occurring? We of course do not condone any violence, but if that is all that was taken from what is going on in the world and these protests (that is what they are), then you have not yet recognised your own privilege or you are yet to fully understand the impact of police brutality and racial injustices. Please remember – just because you are not directly affected by the many forms of injustices occurring in the world, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. In any large movement, there will always be a few people who will incite chaos. The media will always show this over the peaceful protesting that FAR outweigh any negative behaviours. Did you know that many cities around the world are still peacefully protesting – the media just haven’t shown it because it doesn’t fit their narrative. Concentrate on the positives and give the spotlight back to those who truly require it.
So speaking of aiming the spotlight in the right direction: justice. If you’re still unsure of how to help fight the cause, then below are a list of (non-exhaustive) resources to guide you. These resources are UK and US focussed, but we would be happy to compile and publish resources from our community, for support in other countries.
We are aware that there are a number of issues that impact the Gujarati community, and we will do our best to address them as time goes on. The recent atrocities have really brought to light how much more we can be doing to raise awareness and educate the community on these matters (or words to that effect).
Note: change.org petitions are NOT considered in parliamentary discussions, however we have included some below if we cannot find the parliamentary one.
- https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions (hub of petitions)
- Teach Britain’s colonial past as part of the UK’s compulsory curriculum https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/324092
- Improve Maternal Mortality Rates and Health Care for Black Women in the U.K. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/301079
- Justice for Belly Mujinga https://www.change.org/p/govia-thameslink-justice-for-belly-mujinga
- BAME representation in clinical teaching https://www.change.org/p/gmc-medical-schools-must-include-bame-representation-in-clinical-teaching
- Justice for Shukri Abdi https://www.change.org/p/independent-investigation-into-bullying-policy-at-broadoak-sports-college-hazel-wood-high-school-bury-lancashire-and-gmp-full-investigation
- Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323808
- Create an independent investigatory commission to help protect ethnic minorities https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323867
- Making the UK education curriculum more inclusive of BAME history https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323961
*The petitions may have reached their goal before posting.
- https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#donate (hub of links)
- International https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#international (hub of links)
- Stand Up To Racism http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/join-donate/
- Southall Black Sisters https://southallblacksisters.org.uk/support-sbs/ – helping fight against gender-based violence
Websites (which also include donation areas):
- https://www.stop-watch.org/ – fair policing
- https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/about-us/ – Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them succeed
- https://www.theredcard.org/ – Show Racism The Red Card. Educational Charity
- Race in Britain – a mix of five fictional and non-fictional books
- A collection of books, docs and podcasts on racism in the UK
- Short courses from leading educational institutions
- A webinar series from KornFerry on eradicating racism in the corporate world
- Stream YouTube videos – this is free for you, but streams will result in donations: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtooIklzheqzORPbQBiEZKsw2T4s6SUxv&app=desktop
Not sure where to start? Here are three books which we recommend: