Updated: Aug 28, 2020
It’s been awhile since my last blog post. With all the latest world events, I have been struggling with how to be creative, how to focus, and how to resume everyday life. It seems like so long ago that we were mourning the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. At that time, that seemed like the worst life could get. Things were very gloomy and sad for awhile. Next came the coronavirus. A pandemic that no one has ever experienced before, which restricted the world for almost two months and still counting. To present day, the world is undergoing a revolution. The # BlackLivesMatter movement is active and finally getting the attention it deserves. It appears people, particularly privileged individuals, are starting to see and acknowledge the social injustices and racism that African Americans face everyday.
Weeks after the murder of George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked national uproar and riots, #BlackLivesMatter protests and riots are still happening all over the world. All attention is focused on the BLM movement, racism, and social justice. People from all races, genders, professions, and social classes are joining the movement in some fashion. Athletes like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Odell Beckham Jr, Richard Sherman, and Patrick Mahomes have not only spoken out publicly but have also joined protestors in the streets. The music industry also showed support for the movement with a #BlackOutTuesday on June 2nd. Thousands took part in #BlackOutTuesday by posting black squares and going silent across all social media platforms to remember those who have lost their lives because of police brutality and racism. Stars like Beyonce and Kanye West have also used their platforms for good and have taken a stand.. Singer and entrepreneur Beyonce, showed her support for the movement by writing a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron demanding that charges be brought against the killers, in the case of Breonna Taylor. In the letter, Beyonce demands that the AG conducts a
and arrests the police officers involved. Kanye also showed his support, after weeks of silence, by donating money to the college fund of George Floyd’s daughter, along with other deeds. Big corporations like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Walmart have used this time to push their policy commitments and messages about diversity.
Introducing the concept of window dressing.
Many have spoken out about the death of George Floyd, the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, and social injustice in itself, prompting the question: Is it sincere? Why speak up now? The systemic oppression of African Americans has been present in America since its creation. Are these corporations, celebrities, brands, etc. only speaking up now to protect their brand image or have their eyes actually been opened to the big issue of racism in America and want to make a difference? Several popular corporations, industries, influencers, brands, and celebrities who have spoken publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, past actions and allegiances directly contradict their new stance.
Window dressing is a big issue right now. With the current climate of society, it’s important to take a stand. The issue of racism and black systemic oppression has been swept under the rug for decades. We, the black community, have always spoken up and demanded justice for ourselves, but we’ve always lacked adequate and consistent support from allies like our fellow Americans, political leaders, and those who hold power and influence.
The turning point was the death of George Floyd. The 9-minute video clip of his death made it undeniably clear that there is a lack of regard, respect, care, and compassion for black life in America. This case is so indisputably clear murder, forcing us to a societal crossroads. There is a sense in the atmosphere that now is the time to speak up, take action, and to pick a side. You're either with us or against us. That’s the current thought at least. At this time, everyone is closely watching their favorite brand, company, or public figure to see what side or stance they will take. I believe this has forced public figures, corporations, and brands into a feeling of obligation about speaking out in support of the BLM movement. I personally question the sincerity of several of these corporations, brands, and people of power who have spoken out recently in support of the BLM Movement and racism.
Earlier this week Starbucks made the decision not to allow their employees to wear any black lives matter apparel.
In a statement released, they backed up their stance by saying it:
Advocated a political, religious or personal issue.
This stance is very interesting, especially since Starbucks encourages and allows their employees to wear LGBTQ + pins and shirts, especially during June, the month of pride.
After receiving backlash for a week and calls for a Starbucks boycott, they quickly changed their stance, allowing their employees to wear the apparel. They went a step further by announcing they are designing their own black lives matter apparel which they will supply to their staff.
The phrase ‘read the room’ fits the current social landscape. Racism and social justice are sensitive topics in the world right now. It is easy to become subject to cancel culture and to receive backlash because of actions or comments made surrounding BLM movement, racism, and social injustice. People have been getting canceled left and right. Now is the time to watch your actions and words closely.
While the United States is in the middle of a social revolution, we are also undergoing a health crisis. The coronavirus is still actively killing people. Despite the fact that countries are continuing to reopen and the U.S is evolving into the different stages of reopening, the coronavirus has not gone away. After nationwide protests and riots across the country, which thousands took part in, health professionals fear new cases will peak because of protest go-ears who have been in close contact with each other.
If dealing with the repercussions of racism and the coronavirus was not enough, we are also in the middle of a presidential election. It can be said that this is the most important election in American history. Now more than ever, it is critical that everyone is responsible in doing their own political research and exercising their right to vote.
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With everything that’s going on in the world from coronavirus, to the ongoing presidential election to a reignited Black Lives Matter Movement, it is difficult for me to focus. I have had a hard time being creative. Especially when I know that it’s so much going on outside my front door. It’s hard to carry on while being constantly on edge. Despite the progress that's been made these past weeks from the light shone on police brutality and racism, black people are still being killed. Just last weekend another black man was killed by police in Atlanta, Georgia. R.I.P Rayshard Brooks.
I can’t focus knowing I have black men in my life who are at risk everyday of being killed simply because of the color of their skin. I can't be creative in my own home or have any peace of mind realizing it's a possibility I can be killed in my own house, evident from cases like Breonna Taylor. These are normal fears for a black person in America, but they all feel so much more heightened for a person with anxiety. My anxiety has crippled me for the past two months. It's been increasingly difficult the past two weeks. I’m living history. The events that are happening in the world right now will someday be taught to my children and grandchildren in history books.
In an attempt to combat my anxiety and take back control of my life, I’ve started to do a couple of things to get myself back on track mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
As a form of therapy and a way to document the history we’re living, I’ve been journaling how I feel, what I see, and what's happening in the world everyday. I record in my journal, everything I observe in the media, along with saving social media posts(pictures and videos) and articles. I document daily not only as a form of therapy to release my fears, thoughts, and frustrations but also as a way to persevere these big moments in history. I don’t trust the media to create a truthful narrative about the history we’re living in.
I’ve also begun to take the time to educate myself historically and politically. Not only as a black woman but also as a journalist. It is imperative to research your local representatives and state representatives and along with learning the laws that govern you. It is equally important to be aware of what’s happening around you, both locally and globally. It is common, specifically for millennials, for social media to be their only source for news. While social media is useful in distributing news and shining a light on areas that the media doesn't cover, it shouldn’t be a primary source. It’s important, to not only watch the news but to also read newspapers, articles, journals, etc. Take the time to subscribe to some informative newspapers and magazines that will send you daily news briefings.
With everything that’s going on in the world, it is essential that you take care of your mental health and wellbeing. I will offer my guide to doing that in my next post. Subscribe now to receive it before it hits the streets!
Speak it out loud. Claim it. Today will be a good day!
This storm is only temporary. Your rainbow is coming.
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Stay safe. Mask up.
I’m rooting for everybody that’s black.