I pondered considerably before writing this blog piece. I questioned whether I was qualified enough, knew enough, whether I could add value. I asked myself whether all that could be said have already been said. No, this situation keeps evolving by the minute and seems to be taking on gargantuan proportions.
Let’s start again. I cannot and will not watch a video where a person’s last breath is leaving him, worse yet in a violent and cruel manner. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd met his demise in such a manner, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when a white policeman kept his knee on his neck for approximately eight minutes even as he gasped for breath, whilst attempting to arrest him, in spite of being filmed. Reminiscent of the cries of Eric Garner in 2014. George called out for his deceased mother.
This public lynching as many termed it, occurred as we were hearing more about the killing of a young black man in February of this year, Ahmaud Arbery, in the state of Georgia, by three white men including a father and son. All three have been arrested and charged.
The following month, March, Breona Taylor, an EMO, of Kentucky, was killed by the police whilst she slept. The police went to the wrong house. Breona would have celebrated her 27th birthday this week.
Black Americans and allies have collectively raised their voices and fists in protest chanting “Enough is Enough”, “No Justice No Peace”, “I Can’t Breathe”, amongst other rallying cries.
It didn’t take long for the groundswell of protests to cross the Atlantic, to cities such as, London, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam and as far as Tokyo. Caribbean Islands also are in solidarity. As I write, protests are still on going globally. In fact, our protest here on the tiny island of Bermuda is taking place, today June 7. COVID19 seems to have taken a backseat for the time being.
The rally cry “Black Lives Matter” has become louder and reminds us of the international voices which galvanized to denounce apartheid in South Africa before its dismantling. Some have attempted to derail this cry, with the counter narrative “All Lives Matter”.
On June 02, social media statuses were filled with the Black Square. It was indeed Blackout Tuesday.
Has change arrived on our doorstep? Is 2020 a reflection of the decades of the 60’s (the Civil Rights Movement), the 70’s (Black Power Movement)? Would we be back here in 2030, 2040 or 2050?
I’m seeing solidarity from the most unlikely places. For example, I belong to a book club whereby readers are actively seeking out books written by black authors.
Anti-racist is now a “buzz-term”
Celebrities have lent their voices. Sports personalities have contributed funds to the BLM Foundation and other causes for people of color. With this support, is there turning back? Would the powers that be willing to acknowledge that there is indeed systemic institutionalized racism? How willing would they be to change and empowerment?
Before I go let me leave you with this which I saw on Jim Lenahen’s page the morning:
“This picture, taken during the Soweto uprising, galvanized the world against apartheid. Finally, the world took notice and demanded change.
A friend of mine, Sajjan Sharma, posted a word on his FB page without explanation. I had never heard the word before, but because of my immense respect for him, I researched the word and have been captivated by it for about the past eight hours. The word is SAWUBONA. It is a Zulu greeting and it means “We see you.”
When the world finally saw what apartheid looked like, the dismantling of institutional racism in South Africa.
For institutional racism in the United States to be dismantled, WE (white people) must SEE YOU (Black people and all people of color).
I see you. Who else does?”