It’s been an emotional few weeks for everyone
…but mostly because of what we’ve seen happen in America. The tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police supposedly employed to serve and protect their community. The killing of the 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor during a police raid on her home. The killing of 38-year-old trans man Tony McDade in Florida by Tallahassee Police. The continued use of excessive force by authorities during peaceful protests and the apparent lack of regard and understanding from figures of authority.
George’s murder lit the torch for a cultural uprising — it was the final straw for black communities and their allies around the world and they’re now making their voices heard more than ever amidst a global emergency – the likes we’ve never seen.
This is the time to hold up a light behind the entrenched and systematic racism afflicting not only America, but the UK as well. Just like Covid-19, the conversation around racism and racial inequality is not going to go away any time soon. In the midst of a global pandemic, black people and their allies are marching against an even more potent threat to the black community: racism. They are making their voices heard and we owe it to them to listen.
It’s time to have a conversation
I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves having difficult conversations with friends, family, loved ones and complete strangers over political issues we are sometimes perhaps guilty of shying away from, but now is the time for dialogue and heightened awareness of the issues black people have been facing for generations. Having these conversations takes its toll on you. It’s easy to give in to the frustration and anger you might be feeling, but we must keep going.
Every one of us has work to do to be a better ally to the BLM movement and to minority ethnic people in general. The only way we can defeat systemic racism is to have more people of colour in positions of power effecting change from the top down. How do we make this happen? By giving people of colour a platform for their voices to be heard, as loud and as often as we can. Young black kids need to see politicians, entertainers, successful entrepreneurs who look like them to know that their aspirations are possibilities; that the colour of their skin isn’t going to hold them back in growing up and serving their community.
At Bread Birmingham, we are unwavering in our support of the BLM movement and we are committed to improving the diversity of our network of collaborators and client base. For this reason, we have started writing a new internal diversity policy which will outline ways we can ensure we are doing all we can to help further the advancement of black and minority ethnic people in the creative community. We want to work with a more diverse network of illustrators, photographers, writers and influencers. We regularly offer internships to students working in the creative sector in Birmingham and we would like to ensure that we are bringing in more students from minority backgrounds to offer real world experience in our field.
This is where you come in
Generally, it can be hard to know where to start to become more useful as an ally. Here’s a few resources we’ve found.
But the first step? When a person of colour is telling you about their experience, listen first.
Books and articles
- Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race
- The End of Policing
- Black and Brown People Have Been Protesting for Centuries. It’s White People Who Are Responsible for What Happens Next
- Mental Health Issues Facing The Black Community
- Black Men Matter – Examining Mental Health Issues Among Black Men – A Guide To Freedom
- Black Youth Matters: Understanding Mental Health Issues among Black Teens
Films and TV Shows
Want to make a contribution?
- GoFundMe in memory of Tony McDade
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- National Bail Fund Network
- Have a Youtube playlist running in the background – ad revenue turns to donations
- The Black Curriculum
- Some other UK based anti-racism charities
- Here’s how to support BLM protests if you have no money (or you can’t attend yourself)
- A social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum.
- Justice for Belly Mujinga
Remember, this list is a start, not the be all and end all. Be sure to have those uncomfortable conversations and to do your own research into these subjects. Be an ally, and on the right side of history.
Photos by Dylan Parrin