Protest & the pandemic: there’s more to be done

This is our first post on the Black Lives Matter movement.

The above sentence felt uncomfortable writing, and something I personally am ashamed about. It would be unscrupulous to assume the whole world was waiting for our input (although we have been actively posting articles, donating money and attending protests personally), but we want to actively join in the conversation

We are, after all, an inclusive space – and to be silent at a time where our fellow family, friends and allies need us is a step backwards.

We’re taking steps in our lives to do more and to be better. I’ve always been aware of white privilege and how I may have unknowingly benefitted from it in my life, but this moment in time has brought well needed and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about the very structure of our lives. In our workplace, we’re looking into expanding our client and collaborator base to be more diverse, as well as writing a new internal diversity policy. I myself have now seen the importance of not just being ‘not racist’, but actively campaigning for anti racism in society. No longer can we be passive.

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It’s fantastic to see so many people come together in this time and show solidarity, as its been proven it takes more than one person to topple a statue, as it will to see a complete systematic reform. However, there’s been a small air of ‘enough-ness’, supercharged by public performance and social media. Racism is the biggest public health crisis we need to face, but we are still in a pandemic. Those who are still shielding will want to show support, and may feel ashamed they can’t physically be there, so how do they help? After the petitions have been signed and the black squares posted, what’s next that everyone can get involved in?

Keep the discussion going

As the weeks since George Floyd’s murder passes, news cycles will change. We’ve already seen our own British media picking alternative headlines to that of the protests. It’s important we keep momentum – keep posting, keep asking questions to your peers, keep expanding your social media timelines to include more BIPOC people. Sometimes you will mess up, say the wrong thing or read something that may be untrue, but it’s important to keep going regardless.

Some topics to look into include the statistics that show BAME people more likely to die from Coronavirus, the recent hangings in America originally passed off as suicides, and the current national debate on how and why the country is protecting statues in the midsts of the protests.

Contact your local MP

Finding your local MP has never been easier. Writing to them direct on issues that affect you, your community and the country will show your MP that your constituency cares, and it might even see a discussion in parliament.

If you want to have your voice heard, but are unsure where to start, there are many templates accessible online to help.

Topics include (but not limited to) the sale of rubber bullets to America from the UK, reforming our education system to include black history, condemning Trump’s use of force against his own citizens and justice for Belly Mujinga (the one of many black lives lost during this pandemic).

Other ways to help whilst you’re shielding:

If you need a platform or outlet, Slag Mag is here for you. If you are BIPOC and are looking for somewhere to share your work we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a message onFacebook or Instagram or send us an email slagmaguk@gmail.com

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