This isn’t going to be a standard blog post because this isn’t about just me. This is about the millions of people suffering right now from injustice, cruelty and hate crimes targeted against them everyday because of race.
The world is finally put on notice that the people will not be silent no more. Protestors from all around the world no matter their background or colour are standing up in solidarity to support the movement #Blacklivesmatter.
A simple phrase yet a very powerful one that could shape the future. Worldwide you will see protests happening in town centres, in your neighbourhood and hopefully in your household through sharing on social media. We cannot let anybody in this world be treated this way where they have to fight for their basic human rights. Here is ways you can help with this fight.
There are so many different ways you can make a difference, but first you need to bring up the conversation. We can’t just ignore and shy away from talking about the cruelty black people have faced from targeted offences and hatred. Police brutality, offensive stereotypes and constant disregard for their safety are just a few judgments black people have experienced because of their colour. You should not be too scared to speak up because that’s just as bad as supporting the side of the oppressor.
Stonewall was a riot too
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community I am aware of the need for change. If it wasn’t for gay rights movements such as Stonewall I wouldn’t be treated the way I am today. Gay people were once mistreated by the government, judged by the people and harassed and abused by the police force. Many people risked their lives to fight for equality and suffered terrible fates for standing up for what they believed in. I will always remember the people who pathed the way for everything the LGBTQ+ community has today.
As we celebrate the first day of pride month, just realise how far we have come as a movement. Now our pride celebrations are global and it is one of the biggest ceremonies of the year. Pride brings in millions of tourists each year to send a strong message. We want to all come together to celebrate who we are and pay honour to the people who fought for change and made this possible. This year it isn’t about just us, it’s about becoming untied for change with the people who need it most now. The LGBTQ+ community will happily stand with the black community to fight for equality and acceptance. I will below attach a photo of the unified pride flag with black and brown stripes to represent the contribution of back people and people of colour who are with us. We are here with you as we are stronger together.
Without the continued fight, without the protesting, without the strong people who told the officials this isn’t right, without the strong people who never gave up their beliefs, we wouldn’t have pride.
Over 51 years ago the Stonewall riots happened inside New York City’s Greenwich Village. On June 28th 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn (a gay club) where they roughly hauled employees and guests out of the bar. This was a time when LGBTQ relations were illegal, this is why these clubs were the only places people can seek refuge and solace. Even then it was taken away from them and that’s when the community had enough and decided to fight for their right as a human being.
Only in 1966 was it made legal for LGBTQ+ bars to even sell alcohol. This was following the governments rules who stated that a homosexual gathering was ‘disorderly’. Although because LGBTQ+ activists fought for this, they issued change. By issuing a ‘sip in’ members of the commuting was openly speaking about their sexualities in local taverns, daring staffs to turn them away before suing establishments who did. When the commission on human rights ruled that gay individuals had a right to be served in bars, police raids were temporarily reduced. That was until three years later when the LGBTQ+ community was treated so awfully again they had to finally make a stand.
The stonewall riots
In the early morning of June 28th 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn surprisingly as it was not tipped off. Armed with a warrant, police officers entered Stonewall Inn and arrested 13 people including employees because of gender-appropriate clothing statute. Even female officers would take suspected cross-dressing patrons into the bathroom to check their sex.
This was not a one time thing and the LGBTQ+ community had enough. They grew tired of the hatred, harassment and social discrimination targeted towards them. This was the beginning of their fight for equality. Angry patrons and residents of the neighbourhood stayed around the bar instead of dispersing. This angered the police force and decided to use brutality to split them up. One officer even unprovoked hit a lesbian round the head as he forced her into the police-van. Before that lady entered the vehicle she had one more plea to the onlookers which was to act against this injustice.
They listened. Protestors began to throw pennies, cobble stones, bottles and other objects they could find to throw at the police. Within minutes of the first altercation, a riot with over hundreds of people commenced. the police, a few prisoners and a village voice writer barricaded themselves in the bar which the mob attempted to set on fire after breaching this barricade. Although the fire department and a riot squad eventually doused the flames rescuing those inside Stonewall bedew diapering the crowd.
This was only the beginning. As over the next five days protests grew, a stronger message was issued and change was made. With thousands of people protesting inside Stonewall at one point they never gave up and the size only grew into what it is today. A year on from the Stonewall riots, thousands of people marched in the streets of Manhattan from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park shouting ‘say it loud, gay is proud’ in what became America’s first gay pride parade. We thankfully now live in a world where millions of members of the LGBTQ+ community come together each year to pay honour to the people who fought for change and equality for us. The trail makers, the people who gave us our voice, the difference makers.
One of these inspirational people who fought for change was Marsha P. Johnson who was a black trans woman who threw the first brick at the Stonewall riots. Marsha spent her life fighting for change not only within the LGBTQ+ community but as an advocate for black lives too. She was a spearhead for early gay liberation movements and Marsha will always be regarded as somebody who put her life second and fighting for change first.
A crucial person within the history of the community Marsha fought for LGBTQ+ rights right until the day she was murdered. Despite being missing for over 6 days, Marsha’s body was found in the Hudgson River where the NYPD classed her death as suicide. The reaction was different for people who knew Marsha who suspected foul play. You can find out more about this story from the Netflix documentary about Marsha titled ‘The death and life of Marsha P. Johnson. It’s now our time to stand up and fight for change. We owe it to everybody who stood up, fought and protested for change to use our platforms, raise our voices and be the difference.
Be the difference
We shall remember those who have fallen. Our family, our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, our friends, our neighbours, our community, our people. Although we are different we are together in this fight, we will not be silenced and will not shy away from it any longer.
I have seen the misjudgment towards people of colour first hand as my cousin was wrongly prosecuted for a crime he did not commit. I know what these sort of things can do to someone and how corrupted and messed up the government justice system really is. They don’t care who done the crime they just want the case closed. This has spawned so many innocent fatalities who have had their lives ruined based on profiling and judgement. My cousin missed his moms funeral, the early stages of his first borns life and will never be the same again because of the way he was treated. This could of been avoided, this could of been fair, only if racism didn’t exist.
Another example of somebody who was wrongly prosecuted because of his race is Archie Williams, here is a video of him sharing his story before auditioning for America’s Got Talent.
With protests and marches taking place all around the world this month, please know that the people fighting for change aren’t encouraging violence, looting or using this to inflict vandalism. Sadly though even peaceful protests are still getting harassed and assaulted by police abusing their power. Through the power of Twitter peoole from all around the world can see videos recorded of blatantly peaceful protests getting broken up brutally from police. I will share some videos I have saw so you can see for yourself, the protests aren’t the problem it’s the offence people take from them.
Honestly that’s just a little insight to the bigger picture. All you need to do is open your eyes and you will see stuff like this in your daily lives but you can no longer just look away and act like it isn’t happening. I hope you feel uncomfortable, I hope you feel emotional watching the way these people are treated and I hope this is enough to make you take a stand. This isn’t about them, this isn’t about us, it’s about standing up for what is right and no longer accepting ignorance, harassment and injustice.
We can be that difference, this can be the first day of a better tomorrow. Although time and time again you are going to hear this, the only way change can happen is if you talk about it and make your voice heard. Attend protests, speak to government officials, vote for the deserving candidates in elections, start a campaign and donate. There is so many ways you can be the difference you just need to be first open to the conversation. Here are ways you can help: Click here (Black Lives Matter)
To everybody who has donated to all the amazing charities and memorial funds set up in honour of Black Lives Matter, you are help funding change and you are being the difference. No matter how small you think your contribution is, when we all do the same it will make a big impact.
Say their names
Black lives matter should be a topic that never goes away, but hopefully in the future it won’t be surrounded with controversy, racists and hatred. All lives should be treated as equal regardless of background, ethnicity or religion and we shouldn’t have needed to go to these depths to get the message heard that racism still exists.
People shouldn’t be losing their lives, people shouldn’t be racially stereotyped and people shouldn’t be having to fight for their basic human rights. This is why I want to share images of the people who have been victims of murder because of horrendous over abuse of power and racism. Please remember to not shy away and say their names, never let what they fought for go away.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, this isn’t a normal article that I upload here but it’s one I just had to write. Everyday we see people of colour fall victim of being mistreated and racially discriminated but we still do nothing. It’s time to use our platforms and our voices to spread the message that black lives matter.
Too many people have died for this cause, too many families have been broken because of injustice and people’s lives have been spent living in fear because of judgement everywhere they go. I cannot just sit by and let this happen and do nothing. This is why I wanted to use my blog to help get the message out there, anybody can help make the difference. Times like this we really see the true colours of each individuals who either shy away from the problem or make a stand and I no longer want to hide away.
Black people are victims of racial profiling, wrongly judged stereotypes, outdated beliefs and fear of police enforcements abusing their power to discriminate. This is nothing new, we are just finally opening up to the conversation. It is clear to see from the videos shared, news channels reporting and even our own eyes we have seen acts of racism and discrimination happen where we can ask ourselves at that moment when we saw that, what did we do about it?
This is your time to change that. You can protest, donate, educate yourself, spread the message, use your platform, share your story and hopefully inflict change. These are really testing times for everybody but this is nothing compared to what black people endure on the daily.
I’m going to share the link to the black lives matter page where it tells you ways in which you can help out once more to make the message clear. Please stand up and be counted, change is coming, only if you be the difference.