We are living in historic times. The slow, very public killing of George Floyd has stirred worldwide protests. A perfect storm of indescribably cruel and dehumanising police arrogance, Covid-19 lockdown, and social media amplified debate has made antiblack racism dominate news headlines for weeks. Nothing like this has happened before.
All of this is can be overwhelming. What can be done? What can I do? Well, here is something you can do — a practical, simple and easy action to support a powerful, affirming voice for social justice.
Here’s a case in point: George died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020. On 27 May, just two days later, white police officers killed Tony McDade, another African-American man, in Tallahassee, Florida. You could be forgiven if your initial reaction was “Tony who?” Tony was a transgender man and apart from the very poor reporting that his death even happened, the most striking feature of the media’s coverage of these events is that some reports misgendered him.
This fits into a pattern that is as depressing as it’s predictable — black LGBTIQA+ people are more likely to experience lethal and extreme violence, while at the same time have the least protection from all such violence. This is a global issue, ranging from the death penalty for same-sex sexual activity in several nations and territories around the world to children being taken from their parents, false imprisonment for consenting adult relationships, and exile, or social exclusion.
“Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black- undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centres those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black Liberation Movement.”— Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter.
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One day, those who come after us will ask us what we did, how we helped. What we said. How we showed up in, or for the liberation struggles. One day, you’ll get to answer these questions by showing how you supported a progressive, inclusive and vital voice.
The late Arthur Ashe famously said:
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
Please do that by standing with us. Thank you.
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