Black Lives Matter
The recent death of George Floyd at the hands of numerous policemen while in custody has lit new flames under the Black Lives Matter movement. Following a string of recent deaths, the need for change in the system is as important as ever. A list of the most recent killings: Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 in Glynn County, GA, Breonna Taylor on March 13 in Louisville, KY, Nina Pop on May 3 in Sikeston, MO, Tony McDade on May 27 in Tallahassee, FL, and Rayshard Brooks on June 12 in Atlanta, GA. At Roundabout Atlanta, we continue to take part in the civil rights movement and believe that our platform provides us with an opportunity to educate our community and share important resources that are available at the moment.
What is #BlackLivesMatter?
#BlackLivesMatter (BLM) was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer (a brief outline can be found here). It has since become a global organization and movement, aimed at eradicating white supremacy and empowering local Black communities. This is done by creating spaces for the expression and liberation of Black culture and heritage, countering violence inflicted on Black lives, and educating Black individuals and non-Black allies. Education is something of particular importance to us at Roundabout Atlanta, and that we explore through our Atlanta Black History & Civil Rights Tours. The lessons we can gather from history are crucial to engaging in today’s civil rights movement. The late, great Dr. King showed us the power that we have when we are united and organized, and much of his actions are echoed in today’s movement as Americans march throughout the nation.
In Atlanta, elected officials have joined the rallies, highlighting not only the significance but the urgency of the issues in the system. It has become what the New York Times has called, “the biggest collective demonstration of civil unrest around state violence in our generation’s memory.” For those unable to protest, there is a huge array of ways to show support for the movement. There are videos explaining how to be an ally and a ton of US and Atlanta-based organizations that are always looking for donations.
Apart from giving, there is a lot that everyone can take away from the current campaign. BLM has shared various toolkits on its site for those organizing events, and conversation starters in English and Spanish on Trayvon Martin’s death for non-Black individuals. Beyond that, there is a massive amount of resources around the internet. Here is a very brief list:
- Mental health resources and hotlines
- Teaching materials for lessons on challenging racism for all levels
- BLM content with captions for the deaf or hard-of-hearing
- Education resources on history, misinformation, the U.S. prison system, systemic racism, and explanations on how to be an ally
- The Arlington Human Rights Commission has shared an extensive list of things to listen, read, learn, and follow for the U.S. and Gorillaz have shared a list featuring resources for the U.K.
- The British Journal of Photography has also shared resources for photographers
A simple internet search brings up a wealth of information and options. We encourage everyone to take this opportunity to learn something and better yourself in any way you can. As Dr. King Jr. said, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically,” and it is time to think critically about the problems present in our society.
Apart from educating ourselves and marching united, the system requires that we unite our votes for change as well. If you haven’t yet registered to vote, we recommend that you do so in order for your voice to be heard in the upcoming elections. #WhatMatters2020 is the latest campaign from BLM, encouraging supporters to get to the polls to build a collective force for positive change. The only way to ensure a long-lasting impact is to have elected officials who are aware of and motivated by the same issues that we are.
Although this moment has been a long time coming and still requires a lot of energy from those across the country and all over the world, the future brings a lot of hope. If we continue to push then our voices will continue to be heard. Be smart, be strong, and most importantly, be proud.