Black Lives Matter

Words by Siân Irvine

Over the past 2 weeks or so, we have seen worldwide outcry, grief and anger at the death of George Floyd at the hands of police brutality.
Floyd’s death woke the world up. Petitions turned to protests turned to riots, and a statue of Edward Colston, 17th century slave trader, found a new home at the bottom of Bristol Harbour.
I stand with every single person who has spoken up for the Black Lives Matter movement. From those who signed and shared petitions, to those who donated, to those who protested (peacefully or otherwise) I stand with them all.
I’ve had people question why I am so vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve lost friends and followers online and no doubt in real life too. As a white person, why do I care so much about a movement for black people?
Because, in the words of Banksy- “it’s not their problem. It’s mine”.
We are all part of a system that had benefited from white privilege for hundreds of years. The first step is realising that, whether or not your life has been hard, it was not hard because of the colour of your skin. White privilege is not only real, but embedded in ourselves and our society- and, white people- myself included, need to actively unlearn the privileges that are afforded based on skin colour alone.
I owe everything to black people. I love their culture, their music, I have family members, friends, ex boyfriends, all who I have loved dearly. So how can I not be vocal about this? I’m vocal about my love of music, art, clothing, books, podcasts and makeup made by black people. I’m vocal about my love for those I have in my life. So what would that make me- to remain silent now? It would make me complicit.
It is not enough to just be ‘not a racist person’. Now is the time to think, speak up, act and make ourselves count.
I’m doing it not only for my black family and friends, but for anyone who has been affected by racism, overtly or covertly, anyone who has been failed by the system meant to protect them, for future generations who will take the torch from the work we are putting in now.
We are living in a movement which is making history- this is a time that has been steadily moving towards us for years. Things are changing.
Black Lives Matter. ✊🏼🖤

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