Black Lives Matter within a month has risen as a movement to dominate conversations, social media usage and subjects of protests, as the murder of George Floyd on May 25th 2020 by police officer Derek Chauvin sparked a global wave of outcry and unrest. The death of Belly Mujinga, the bitter resentment left over the Windrush Scandal in 2019, and the growing uncovering of rife racism within the police force has left Britain feeling particularly frustrated and often conflicted on opinion. Social media, as a platform wielding limitless influence has played an integral role in the spread and advertisement of the movement, reiterating the message that passivity on the matter is no longer acceptable. However, by mid-June, the pace with which racism in the UK was so directly confronted already began to slow, and the question remains whether virtual participation in the Black Lives Matter movement is enough. At Hard magazine, we want to ensure our approach to this sensitive and necessary topic is blatant, determined, and consistently moving in the right direction. As a platform for artistic expression and conversation, not only does Hard magazine owe an immeasurable amount of its roots and inspirations to black culture and contributions, but the magazine has an indisputable responsibility to practice activism for racial equality. Above all, we want to do this in the right direction. Amplifying black voices, opinions and experiences, not only covering current affairs regarding Black Lives Matter but all topics, is a significant way in which Hard magazine can use its resources and creativity to keep the conversation going.
My friend Elijah Marshall from East London has been a loud and clear voice on this topic, using his evident talents for conversation and writing to create podcasts and articles on the matter. In attending many of the recent London marches, Elijah has shared how his experiences of recent events, now more than ever have placed the pressure on confronting the matter of racism in the UK, as black lives are being treated as anything but valuable. As well as the piece he’s written for Hard magazine, Elijah’s recent podcast Rough Edges, and his article for Everyday Racism discuss the far reaching effects of the matter further, and his personal connection to them, making them my personal suggestions for engaging with the topic and working out how to show support.
Elijah on the London protests:
I stood firm in solidarity with many young black men, women and youths who are tired of the institutional racism that is immersed within this country. Tired of the injustices with familiar cases such as Belly Mujinga’s. Tired of the continual unlawful stop and search procedure that disproportionately impacts black men at a 40% rate than their white counterparts, it’s clear this feeling has spiralled shockwaves across the globe and a shared mutual feeling which has reached boiling point. As I watched the sea of crowds gathered at the protests, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment that it took another Black American man to die in the hands of police custody for racism to be an eye opener to the world. I had to get my voice heard, Black people needed to get their voice heard. Being at the protests gave me great hope witnessing a diverse young generation standing in support for Black people’s everyday struggles. The Black Lives Matter protest demonstrated what many individuals have been striving many centuries for - unity. So close, yet there is so much work to be done. The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the underlying disparities and existent of racism within the country where we see many Blacks and ethnic minorities dying at a higher rate; the phrase ‘we are all in this together’ shows the complicit nature government leaders have towards the black community which make up a large proportion within improvised areas where health issues are rife. It felt like my duty to march for my grandparents who come from Jamaica and could’ve well and truly been a victim of the Windrush Scandal. Enough is enough, but I stay hopeful and put my faith in God for the revolution that is well overdue.
We have to speak. Now is time to address many uncomfortable truths whether that be in the workplace or church; we all play a role in aiding to combat them. The structural racism needs to be dismantled and l can only be optimistic and pray for exploration for everyone to educate themselves regarding race and change for the next generation. It will never be an overnight change but there’s strength in numbers to teach one another. We see George Floyd’s situation consistently in America as well as the UK where many of us make it and many of us don’t. This needs to change. The UK is not innocent. Black Lives Matter.
STAY ALERT END SYSTEMIC RACISM
RACISM IS THE
Listen to Elijah's Podcast here