The global pause has perhaps given people more time and energy to consider some of the insanity that is happening in the world – systematic racism, slavery, exploitation and injustice – for example.
After yet another black man is murdered by police in the states, I have found it important to listen to black people more, to educate myself by watching films like ’13th’ about systematic criminalisation and enslavement of a quarter of the world’s population in prison in USA and ‘When they see us’ – about the ‘Exonerated Five’ wrongly framed without evidence as young boys for the rape of a woman in central park in 1989 (both on Netflix). Its important that these stories are brought to our awareness and conversations, let alone to help bring about urgent change.
I took part in the BLM demonstration in Bristol on Sunday. There was a great sense of unity amongst all colours and races, with powerful speakers and a profound 8 minutes silence for George Floyd. At one point, there was a big cheer from the crowd behind me. I couldn’t see what was happening at the time, but that was when the statue of the slave trader ‘Edward Colston’ was pulled down. I wouldn’t normally condone destruction of art, but considering 2 million Africans were thrown overboard ships, there was a symbolic poetic justice that his statue – and all that he stands for – ended up at the bottom of the river.
A couple of banners that I felt were very poignant was ‘Turn pain into Power’ and ‘Let this be a movement, not a moment’. Its such a huge situation, and improvements in human rights have been made if we look back in history – but its high time we made some more – all around the world – in the words of Benjamin Zephaniah ‘Unity is Power’!