Hate incidents driven by racism are on the increase – up by a projected increase of 400% this year based on those that we get involved reporting in our capacity as a Hate Crimes Reporting Centre.
Racism is very much in the news right now too, following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The debate that George’s death has sparked, the light that has been shone on racism and the mobilisation of the Black Lives Matter movement has to be a good thing that will hopefully lead to positive change for the benefit of all.
One of our volunteers, Lily Lawes, was moved to document her personal perspective on racism in a very powerful and thought provoking piece of writing that we really want to share…
How do I fight systemic racism? Let me count the ways.
I champion my non-white friends and family members fiercely. But then again, I do that with all the people I love, and some I barely even know.
I check myself CONSTANTLY on the judgements I make about people based on how they look or sound or come across. We ALL make those judgements, and calling myself out on what I project takes rigour.
I consume as many different voices as I possibly can to understand how other people move through the world, so that I can respond with compassion first and foremost.
I actively include diversity in skin tone and body shape in the visual content I produce, and offer up whatever platform I possibly can to those voices.
I keep my feminism ‘woke’ to the fact that systems of oppression come in many different, intersecting forms – and that they are all based on fear, purely fear.
I strive to empower women in my creativity, because once women (all of them) are free of patriarchy, any form of oppression will be utterly unnecessary. Because that’s not what healthy, thriving communities are built on – and women know how to build the most incredible communities.
So far, so fucking smug. Because it’s not enough. It’s not ENOUGH.
Because I still benefit from these systems. The free education I received in a country built on the spoils of the trading of people. The healthcare I have access to because so many highly-skilled medical professionals come here in search of economic empowerment – from countries whose resources and civilisations were stolen by mine. The security with which I can move through this life because somewhere along the line it was arbitrarily decided that my white, English-speaking body was to be protected and valued more than those whose aren’t.
So this IS my fight. I don’t GET to scroll past the uncomfortable truth of something horrifically unjust happening to someone I didn’t know in a foreign, far-away country.
Because my gain is his loss. So I am inextricably linked to him, and I am indebted to him.
Thank you, George Floyd, and I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.