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Introduction to the BLM Campaign

"No justice, no peace"

A chorus of “No justice, no peace” chants have echoed throughout anti-racism protests all over the world, as hundreds of thousands of people have come together to march in solidarity against police brutality. The death of George Floyd added fuel to the bonfire of systematic racism, but it’s been burning for a long time.

Breonna Taylor, Treyvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile; we must never stop saying their names. There are hundreds who may never get the justice they deserve, but the Black Lives Matter movement has shaken the fortress of structural racism. A mass movement is underway, and it’s placed the struggle of Black people front and centre on the global stage.

Racism, propped up by institutions like the criminal justice system, has stolen the lives of so many innocent people. Racism never went away after the Civil Rights Movement, it was repackaged as unconscious bias, harassment and discrimination, operating behind the veneer of law and order. For Treyvon Martin, “suspiciously” walking home from his local convenience store resulted in his murder by a police man. For Sandra Bland, giving way to a police car without signalling a lane change led to her death in police custody. Harmless, everyday actions, that most of us wouldn’t think twice about doing, have been a death sentence for Black people.

Racism doesn’t just manifest as a hate crime. It can be covert, bubbling under the surface until it leaks out in more subtle ways. It’s the snap judgement one makes when passing groups of minorities, or the inexplicable distrust we feel towards a person of colour. This is unconscious bias and trickles into our classrooms, job interviews, healthcare, and interpersonal relationships.

Some, like President Trump, retort that white people are also killed by the police. But white people aren’t killed because they’re white. White people aren’t murdered for playing with a toy gun in a park, sleeping in their homes, and selling cigarettes outside a shop. In saying this, Trump deliberately overlooks the fact that Black people account for less than 13% of America’s population, but are 2.5x more likely to be killed than white Americans. The system is rigged, not just in the States, but over here, in our own country.

Take our criminal justice system: in England and Wales, Black people make up less than 3% of the overall population, yet represent 13% of the prison population (Lammy Review 2016). In our schools, Black children of Caribbean descent are 3x more likely to be excluded than their classmates (Fullfact.org 2016). When it comes to employment, Black people have the highest unemployment rate across all ethnic groups (UK Gov 2016). Many deny the existence of racism in the UK by emphasising how “tolerant” we are in comparison to other nations, but tolerance doesn’t imply active anti-racism. We need to move beyond acceptance, towards continuous action. In a country where racialised hate crimes are on the rise, we have to start acknowledging that racism is deeply embedded in our society, and hold those in power to account for letting racism go unchallenged for so long.

Our anti-racism campaign aims to spotlight some of the issues that disproportionately impact Black people in the UK. Our app gives you access to learning materials that explore the symptoms of racism in our society, and connects you to actions that will support campaigns pushing for the eradication of systemic racism.

Black lives have always mattered and they’ll continue to matter once the dust settles again. True solidarity is long-term. Will you continue to fight for BLM after it fades from the front page news stories?

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Emma Mulholland

Full-time copywriter with a background in digital communications. In her spare time, she does comms work for several charities, and can be found reading, doing yoga, playing video games or tending to plants.

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