Audre Lorde said:
'your silence will not protect you.'
Silence will not protect our friends and colleagues.
I’ve heard many people say something along these lines: ‘I am shocked, I just don’t want to say the wrong thing’
I don’t want to say the wrong thing either.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Listen and educate yourself
This weekend I read a brilliant book by Reni Eddo-Lodge 'Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race' to educate myself. I believe it’s an essential read.
It’s challenging but we must have challenging conversations because we can’t begin to influence change or even know what to say until we’ve understood the problem and our role in the current system.
2. Amplify voices
There are organisations and groups like Black Lives Matter that do know what to say. Share their tweets, posts with all of your networks. Sign the petition, share it with your contacts. Justice for Floyd is a good one to start with: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforfloyd_george_floyd_minneapolis
You don’t have to have your own new eloquent opinion to express yourself – amplifying the voices of others is more powerful.
This article has a list of organisations that support the Black Lives Matter movement, including the Minnesota Freedom Fund. I donated a small amount but it was a gesture to show solidarity, to say that I hear you and I am with you.
4. Lawyers, use your skills
@blkprotestlegal on Twitter is a hub of legal advisers and lawyers willing to support all of those taking part in #ukblm marches.
Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit) can help barristers who are not direct access qualified to provide support through them.
One major point in Eddo-Lodge’s book is that racism is not just about moral values or prejudice, it's about power.
'Structural racism is dozens, or hundreds or thousands of people with the same biases joining together to make up one organisation and acting accordingly'.
Speaking about racism can be hard and uncomfortable but if we focus on listening, challenging ourselves, amplifying voices, and showing solidarity, we can begin to change the system.
Silence is not an option.