Last year we witnessed various protests, riots and demonstrations as a result of fairly recent situations between the police and minorities, especially black people in the US. Many felt that these demonstrations were not only a result of the officers who killed both Mike Brown and Eric Gardner not being indicted, they were an example of the amount of rage that has been building between minorities and the law for a long time. Almost as if these cases where the tipping point where people could not take it anymore that officers of the law who are there to protect could kill unarmed citizens in a democratic first-world country and walk away free. Thus leading to events we saw happening in Ferguson, New York, LA and even London. The peaceful and non-peaceful demonstrations were an opportunity for people to come together and demonstrate how they felt about the state of race relations in America. Even though, I felt that the non-peaceful demonstrations took away from the message that most people were trying to convey and cheapened the cause behind the demonstrations it still involved people coming together for a cause which is something that we don’t see very often. The question is what happens now? People all over grabbed the attention of the world to show their displeasure over how the cases played out, however we won’t be heard just by demonstrations we need to affect change in the law in the government and as history has shown this requires a movement an organisation. You’re probably thinking OK so what movement? Well, there are many organisations that deal with racial injustice. Alicia Keys started a movement called We Are Here that was inspired by someone asking her why she was here on the planet? As in what is your purpose here? This inspired her to start this movement, which gives a platform for 12 charities to state their cause and give people the opportunity the join whichever cause they are interested in. One of these charities is the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) who states that they are here to “confront racial injustice and the legacy of racial inequality in the United States and to challenge the American justice system’s failure to serve the poor and people of colour”. This is a great organisation to join as they are working to help those who feel they cant speak about the injustice that happens between them and some members of law enforcement.
I live in the UK so this may not seem like a viable option but they are still things we can do here to battle this problem that not happens in the America but also here in the UK such as Lean In circles. The Lean In movement was founded by Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook) because she was inspired to give women the inspiration and support to achieve their goals. However, this movement is not exclusively for women many men are joining to tap into the power of belonging to a community that has the same interests and mission as they do. You can find out about the Lean In movement here. This is what we need to unite with other people who want to not only see change but also be involved in the change. These meetings can be used as a tool to decide the mission of the movement that is needed, to discuss actions that need to be taken to change how the justice system works, to find out what we can do to change legalisation whether its petitions or sits-ins. These are just some of the ways that we can use the attention and unity that these recent events have sparked to create a social and political change.