It’s June, friends. 2020 is halfway done.
The start of a new month generally feels refreshing and inspiring to me but lately it feels like we’re stuck in a time capsule of a dark past. Hateful words and behaviour have resurfaced more publicly, and antiquated ideas are bouncing around in what’s supposed to be a progressive, love-for-all, modern society.
Protesting against white supremacy, unpunished lynching and demanding justice for ongoing police brutality sounds like the chapter we’ve already read from a History book. I remember crying and feeling sick to my stomach when I first read about Emmet Till, a 14-year old Black boy who was brutally murdered by White supremacists in Mississippi in 1955, for whistling at a White woman. Decades later, the White woman admitted that some of the claims she testified in court about Emmet were untrue. The recent behaviour and actions of Amy Cooper reminded me of that story.
So here we are again, in 2020. Right in the middle of a pandemic, demanding for civil rights. This almost feels like the plot of a dystopian movie, but sadly, this is a reality of what characterizes our current time.
While chatting with my brother, I mentioned how so many of us had high hopes for this year. I said “2020 was supposed to be a good year. What a disappointment”. He responded that maybe it’s not the year itself that’s supposed to be good. Maybe we’re meant to have a good decade. Maybe this chaotic, messy “2020” is a symbolic start to a new era. A stepping stone to something better.
Call me naive, but maybe he’s right. Looking back at this moment, we will remember that not even a pandemic stopped us from holding hands to fight for a long overdue social change. Maybe something beautiful can emerge out of this.
Until then, I hope we can continue to educate, be educated, listen, reflect, discuss, ask questions and continue (or start) to speak out and stand up for a basic human right for our fellow Black citizens.
It may be hard to understand something we personally have never experienced, but honestly, it’s really not that hard to be a good human and to want equal treatment and equal justice for all.
We have seen change in dialogue, behaviour, education, workplace policies, laws and even change in the way we raise our children thanks to #MeToo and #Pride. Those issues were certainly not an overnight problem and they are still a work in progress (amongst many other social issues) but it has sparked change. The perseverance of the voices that needed to be heard and the awareness shared between all of us has led to change.
Please, let’s do the same for our fellow Black friends, i.e. fellow human beings.