The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in the United States has sparked outrage, riots and a demand for change.
Australia is not isolated from racism. There have been 432 deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody since the royal commission in 1991, and this figure was one of the motivations for protests across the country this weekend.
Over the past 10 years there has been an 88% increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being incarcerated, making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-indigenous people.
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is trending due to the worldwide history of police brutality and institutional racism worldwide continues; and now people are demanding justice.
It is expected that this change may be scary, uncomfortable, cause feelings of guilt and won’t be simple, but it is hoped it will move the world towards equality.
It has been noted that for change to be successful, movements that support Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) and change institutional racism will need to be continued once the BLM movement isn’t trending; this is not an easy problem to solve.
Events in the USA, that have been in the news recently are a daily reality for many BIPOC across the globe, the only difference is that more recently they have been filmed.
Listen to what BIPOC are saying.
Listen to what BIPOC experience, such as being racially profiled and what non-BIPOC take for granted.
Here is a list of other accounts to follow:
We should all educate ourselves on what is happening in the world, what has happened in the past and why.
Read a variety of news sources, and read literature written by BIPOC.
Educate yourself on what local politicians stand for and what they are doing to stand up for BIPOC. Research and be aware of which organisations promote hate and which are actively participating in the BLM movement.
Everyone needs to start conversations with people they spend time with including friends and family. Starting conversations about this topic is crucial for change.
Question and reflect on your own white privilege, acknowledge it and use it to make change.
It can be difficult, but calling out other people for unacceptable behaviour is key.
Staying silent is being complicit in this behaviour and co-signing it.
Boundaries set by each of us help other people know what is acceptable and what standards should be established around the world.
Speaking up is worth the possibility of losing someone’s approval if it means you can speak your mind, voice your beliefs and most importantly, save BIPOC lives.
Supporting these creators gives them financial support, a voice and more opportunities. You can watch, read, listen and buy materials made by BIPOC creators. Click here to see a few of many BIPOC owned fashion brands.
Netflix is one of the steaming services that has many series and movies that aid education of racism and black oppression, such as 13th, Beyoncé’s Homecoming, Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Dear White People.
Donate to organisations that support BLM, Indigenous communities, bail funds and other organisations that support BIPOC.
Zoe Amira has created a YouTube video with music and art from BIPOC creators that has a lot of ads that will create a lot of money that is being divided between various BLM organisations.
Watch this repeatedly (interspersed with other videos, so it isn’t counted as spam) with adblocker turned off and letting ads play to help raise money.
The tab can be muted or you can do something else while it is playing. Watch it here.
There are many petitions to sign online that don’t cost anything. Change.org is a platform used to quickly and easily share petitions for various campaigns. Access the petition for justice for George Floyd here, and one for preventing Australian deaths in custody caused by improper restraint here
There are many others online surrounding BLM.
Click here to access a Google document with a list of petitions to sign, where to donate, what to watch, read, listen and organisations that are actively fighting institutional racism.
There are different ways to protest, traditionally or virtually.
A range of traditional in-person protests are being held including vigils. Look online at what is being held locally.
Many protests are being held worldwide, but it is important to think about current risks associated with in-person protests. The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, so extra care needs to be taken.
If protests are participated in person, wear personal protective gear, use hand sanitiser, try to use social distancing measures, think about transport options, stay home if sick and consider being tested for COVID-19 in the days after participating.
Virtual protesting involves using social media as a way to share information.
This involves sharing resources on social media regarding information, protests, petitions, and where to donate and show support for BIPOC creators. Try to amplify BIPOC voices before sharing non-BIPOC content, as BIPOC voices are those that need to be heard first.
Make information accessible for people who need to hear and see informative posts. This includes friends and family, but also the government, police departments and white supremacists.
To get information to the latter groups, use hashtags on posts that include words used by these groups.
If one does not want to post on their personal social media, create another page or account for protesting, there is no excuse for being silent.
Backlash may occur, but this means that the target audience saw the information and the post succeeded.
It is important not to post media that shows BIPOC being brutalised or killed, as this can be triggering. Ensure that any images of protestors do not include any faces or identifiable features, people have lost their jobs and lives from being identified at protests.
The key to this movement is momentum, and change is happening. The charges and lives of the police officers involved with George Floyd’s death have been changed due to the protesting and action of people. This has forced us law enforcement agencies to hold these officers accountable for their actions.
Other massive protests have also created change, such as the Stonewall riots, a series of protests that resulted in positive change for LGBTQ+ rights.
The most important thing for all of us to do is lead by example, as actions speak louder than words.
“You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
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