As the UK eases lockdown and the world feels as though it is on fire, it’s really easy to feel as though you are not doing enough. There are mixed messages absolutely everywhere. Ones telling you to stay home, ones telling you to go out and march for what is right. But what are you meant to do?
Honestly, if you have read any of my articles before you will know that very rarely do I possess the answer. I cant tell you exactly what to do during this time but I can tell you what isn’t going to cut it.
Firstly, much like you; I have never been in the position where people who stand idly by whilst the rest of us are calling out racism, are being outed. Amongst the heart break, the anger and the frustration. I also feel pride. But are you doing enough?
This is the question so many people are asking themselves and I think the answer lies somewhere in-between “always strive to DO more” and “the job won’t be done until things change”
Some of us can’t leave our house due to shielding rules and being at risk of the virus. I am in this category. I am someone who gets up and shows up. This time (because there have been many) I am having to do that from my house. Sharing stories, signing petitions, donating funds. Instead of being on the roads, with my people, physically calling for justice.
I have never heard the word “unprecedented” more in my life than now, I may go as far as to say I had only seen it written in a few books before 2020 but that is how I would describe the movement that is currently taking hold. It is our job, our duty to ensure it continues.
Yes the men who murdered George Floyd are going to be charged but so was the man who killed Trayvon Martin and we all know how that story ends. We can’t take a crumb like we have done before, we can’t continue to accept the bare minimum and then be shocked when the wheel keeps on turning. I can’t pretend to know what exactly is going to happen, life really does feel like it is on its head at the moment and long may it continue. I would rather have a lifetime of “uncomfortable” conversations and calling people on their bullshit than smile and carry on, I refuse to do it. Ever again.
Some of us don’t know HOW to say what it is we are feeling in a tweet or caption on instagram and there are others who want to fight, who want to take a stand but fear that their words will be mistaken and their intentions obscured.
I think at a time like this silence is not an option. I think at a time like this, to not speak means you are on the side of the oppressor. In a time when a retweet is a thing? Silence is not only compliance. It is deliberate. It is enthusiastically willing the inequalities to continue. SILENCE IS VIOLENCE.
Editors note: Yinka has donated her fee for this article to the family of Belly Mujinga.