The ongoing protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, also known as BLM, see countries unite in solidarity, but solidarity does not stop racial discrimination and inequities globally.
As an individual and as a community, Kingston has provided several ways for you to demonstrate your support for the BLM movement.
Supporting the BLM movement is “a fight for freedom, liberation and justice.”
The BLM movement was founded in 2013 in response to the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida and since then has become a global organization, particularly in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada according to blacklivesmatter.com.
Seven years later and events revealing police brutality, racism and discrimination have been highlighted on social media and show that racial barriers still exist in the year 2020.
Protest demonstrations have united people across the world to stand for justice and demand that racism and discrimination stop now.
In 2020, BLM protests have increased since the killing of George Floyd.
All we ask is to look at the facts of the inequity and the barriers black individuals have and still face in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The data reveals what many individuals are facing by just participating in BLM movement.
Fact 1: Since George Floyd at least 8,700 demonstrations have been seen globally in over 72 countries, according to ACLED Data. The US has seen 7,750 demonstrations across the country in over 2,440 states.
Fact 2: Only seven per cent of demonstrations have resulted in violence, but the U.S. government response to demonstrations has seen a 54 per cent increase in violent response when engaging with protestors in cities such as Chicago, Illinois. (ACLED DATA Source)
Fact 3: 13,000 people have been arrested for supporting BLM in the US, according to Insider sources.
Fact 4: According to the Department of Justice of the US, over 300 people are facing federal charges after participating in BLM protest in 29 different states plus Washington, District of Columbia, since the end of May 2020.
With these facts alone, we can see the lack of support the BLM movement receives from the government. Yet, they are supposed to protect all citizens, but instead, they are displaying the actions of those wanting black individuals to be silenced.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s message to the thousands of protesters was that the UK is not racist. He says he is, “proud to lead the most ethnically diverse government in history of this country”.
However, in 2017/2018 stop and search for members of the Afro-Caribbean community increased from 7.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent of all incidents.
There is one thing for sure, black individuals across the world will not be silenced anytime soon. If anything, it drives Black and minority ethnic , also known as BAME, communities to say BLM loud enough for everyone to hear. We are facing inequality in everyday life scenarios.
Fact 5: In the US, during 2019, 54.8 per cent of the prison population were Black and 55.5 per cent of those on parole, in just the state of Illinois Department of Corrections.
Fact 6: Black Caribbean people are 9.6 times more likely to get stopped and search in the UK compared to white British which leads to a 22 per cent increase in arrests, according to the UK Government website.
Fact 7: Out of 59.6 per cent of hate crimes being reported in the US, 47.1 per cent of hate crimes were towards African Americans according to the FBI Database.
Fact 8: 28 per cent of Afro-Caribbean people fear that they would be a victim of a crime in the UK according to the UK Government.
The fear of being a victim of a hate crime is similar between the two countries.
Why should a person fear going outside to do daily errands? Why should a person fear that someday they will have to talk to their daughters or sons about how to survive being Black?
The answer is a person should not have to worry about their safety and should be able to trust their government is acting in the best interest of all citizens.
Black individuals across the world are still fighting for basic human rights and it does not matter what country a Black person is from.
So, it is time to get involved in this matter and support the change that is going to take place. Change starts with you.
Students at Kingston University are encouraged to get involved with our very own Black History Month events that our Union provides for us.
Our student union has provided students with free events to educate themselves on Black culture.
All you have to do is sign-up on their website at https://www.kingstonstudents.net/bhm2020.
And all the events are virtual, so you can attend these from the comfort of your own home.
But if the timing doesn’t work out, then go check out this article that is written by Time Out editors, which explains eight easy and simple ways to get involved.
Since 2013, BLM is the biggest civil rights movement in history.
BLM demonstrates that change can make people feel uncomfortable and fear that certain histories will be erased.
In these uncertain times, the world can come together to promote change. That should not be in the discussion today.
BLM will continue to gain support globally but now it is time to decide where we want to end up.
Make awareness, make a change, educate and be supportive.