2020 has really been something so far hasn’t it? Everyone has been affected by this Coronavirus thing. It’s literally stopped us in our tracks. Life as we know it has had to change, and we have had to adapt to save lives.

It’s funny how when everyone gets behind something, it brings about change. Why can’t we treat racism in the same way?

I spoke in my previous post about how we cannot continue to ignore racism – we need to be actively anti-racist. Now, it’s time to step it up a gear.

We all saw how our Instagram’s turned black as part of the social media blackout campaign a couple of weeks ago. It was clear from that, how many people want to stop racism. However, the incredibly talented black entrepreneur and activist Jaime C (one half of @civilrightsbae) decided to challenge her followers fight racism #beyondtheblackout and make some real commitments to the Black Lives Matters cause.

She asked what we were doing other than posting on social media to amplify black voices. What were actually doing to support black communities?

She was right to challenge us all. This isn’t a trend. Black Lives Matter was only formed in 2013 as response to police brutality and the acquittal of Trayvan Martin’s murderer. That was only when the movement was formalised and the Black Lives Matter Foundation was created. The fight against racism has been going on for hundreds of years before – it’s part of our privilege that we never really thought about it before now.

If you’re late to this fight, don’t worry; many of us are – but you’re not too late – and that’s what’s important. Our black friends are asking us to educate ourselves on Black history, speak out and challenge racism when we see it and advocate for their rights.

I am personally trying to dedicate a little part of each week to finding out more and listening to what my black friends and colleagues have to say. There is no way I can understand what it’s like to be black, so the least I can do is listen to their point of view and amplify their voices using my own platforms (just like this one).

It’s okay if you get it wrong. I know I have and when I did – my friend challenged me and called me out. That’s okay though – I’m still learning and she knew that too. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right first time. This is new to some of us, but the main thing is that you try and you keep on trying.

If we truly want to fight racism on behalf of black and ethnic minorities, we need to help raise them up and it won’t always be easy.

Look after your mental health and check in on your black friends who are truly at the heart of this cause. Make a concerted effort to do something every week #beyondtheblackout and if you’re not sure what to do – feel free to ask me. I’ve been doing plenty of research lately.

It’s no longer enough to stand on the sidelines in this fight. Black lives always have and always will matter.

Love always,

Lauren x

Thanks for this incredible illustration by Olivia Holden.