I consider myself an activist.
I consider myself an ally to repressed and marginalised communities.
My business exists to give all those experiencing harassment a voice.
I have watched and listened and had various conversations with my family and my team over the last few weeks regarding #blacklivesmatter.
I’ve not said much myself because I chose instead to tweet and share thoughts and opinions from BAME voices that I value, respect and admire, to amplify them as far as I am able to. I felt that as we exist to shift cultures, I was already part of the solution. I also needed to make sure that anything I said came from a rational place, not just an emotional one.
However, I fear that my lack of outward opinion could be misconstrued as a lack of strength of feeling.
This is absolutely not the case.
I’ve written and rewritten posts about this for social media countless times and deleted them because they didn’t quite convey how I was feeling. However, I realise that my concern over constructing the perfect post and worry about saying the wrong thing makes me complicit.
In running the business I run, and being a caring and empathetic ally, it is my duty to add my voice to the protests, educate myself and others, amplify and promote people of colour and support and donate to causes that work tirelessly to ensure there is an end to entrenched, insidious and systemic racism that people experience every single day across the world.
While discussing our software the other day, a colleague mused “how do you report a feeling or a sense that people are uncomfortable with you being in the same room as them, just because you are different to them.” I haven’t stopped thinking about this since.
It is a lived experience by one of my team that I have never, and probably will never have myself. I can’t empathise, because to empathise is to truly know how that feels. And I don’t believe I can ever truly know.
But I can educate.
I can educate myself, I can educate my children, and I can educate everybody that I interact with. Because through education, we can begin to understand. Through education we can begin to fight ignorance.
Here are some of the things I’ve personally watched, listened to and read over the past week or so that have begun to open my eyes to the pain felt by Black, and Minority Ethnic people all over the world:
No. You Cannot Touch My Hair! by Mena Fombo
My road trip through the whitest towns in America by Rich Benjamin
Understand and acknowledge your conscious and unconscious bias. Be an active bystander and call micro-agressions out when you see them.
Please take the time to listen, educate yourself to the pain, speak out and stand side by side with black people to ensure this inequality, racism and brutality stops.