On May 25, four Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man after a deli employee called 911, accusing him of using a counterfeit $20 bill. After a squad car arrived at the scene, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd telling the officer at least sixteen times that he could not breathe. It was all caught on video – the by-passers stopping to plead with the police to let the man breathe, their pleas turning more and more frantic as they saw Floyd becoming motionless. The other police officers on the scene refused to listen or act and instead became aggressive with those trying desperately to stop what was happening in front of them. George Floyd died and Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, with the three other officers on scene charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
In the aftermath of Floyd's murder, protests erupted with people taking to the streets to express their grief and rage. Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis said people were right to be angry, stating: “What we’ve seen is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness in our Black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years.”
In the days since, the peaceful protests spread across the US and then to the UK, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, and more. Worldwide people of all races have joined local demonstrations, to protest the systemic racism and continued police brutality against Black communities. People everywhere are demanding not just justice as another Black man dies at the hands of the police, but wider change too.
US President Donald Trump's response to the protests has been widely criticised. He gave an ominous address to US citizens on Monday, threatening military intervention. Former US Defense Secretary James Mattis said this week: "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try."
This week the social media movement known as #BlackoutTuesday, where people posted nothing for a day except images of black squares, dominated social media, flooding Instagram and Twitter feeds. The movement came under fire for detracting from the protests.
In response to Floyd's murder, Black Lives Matter are again calling for an end to systemic racism and campaigning to #DefundThePolice in America.
With so much going on in the world right now it can be hard to know what we can do to help and where to start, so we've put together a short guide of ways to help, support and educate. Take a look at what you can do here...
The official Black Lives Matter global network who work to “end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.”
A national project that works with organisers, advocates, and legal providers across the US contemplating, or already using, community bail funds in the effort to radically change and reduce incarceration.
This ActBlue page will let you split your donation between 60+ different community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organisers.
An organisation calling Minneapolis’ city council and mayor to invest in violence prevention, housing, resources for youth, emergency mental health response teams, and solutions to the opioid crisis.
A Minnesota-based organisation that centres healing and transformative justice principles.
Named after Stephen Lawrence, a Black teenager who was killed in southeast London in 1993 in a racist attack. They work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to inspire and enable them to succeed.
A member-led youth organisation empowering young people and communities to fight for justice, peace and freedom.
A charity which provides support for victims of hate crime, including those subjected to racist attacks. They also engage with businesses and organisations to provide equality training and education.
One of the leading national organisations working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination.
The UK’s leading independent race equality think tank, who look to challenge race inequality through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.
The petition calls on Minneapolis major Jacob Frey and District Attorney Mike Freeman to charge all four police officers involved in George Floyd’s fatal arrest.
This petition calls for the prosecution of police who kill unarmed civilians.
The organisers of the petition are calling for schools to educate school children about white privilege, white supremacy, and the British Empire.
Support Black Lives Matter. For those of you attending or thinking to attend protests, a guide to doing so safely is available here.
Write to your local Member of Parliament (UK)
This clever video project was created to offer people a way to donate and financially contribute to #blacklivesmatter without having any actual money or going out to protest themselves. 100% of the ad revenue the video makes through AdSense will be donated to the associations that offer protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals, and advocacy listed in the beginning of the video.
Show solidarity on social media
Repost or post links to helpful anti-racist resources.
In his powerful exploration of modern American policing, former prosecutor Paul Butler examines how criminal justice laws and practices tragically impact black men and black communities across the US.
Through six intimate conversations with a new generation of writers and historians – journalist Afua Hirsch breaks through old clichés and unpicks the true legacy of this complicated and difficult inheritance.
A second mention for the brilliant Afua Hirsh, but this book – about a search for identity – is a must read. It tackles the everyday racism that plagues British society and our awkward, troubled relationship with our history.
Eddo-Lodge’s multi-award winning book is a charged and necessary wake-up call to pervasive, institutionalised racism. A searing polemic that reconstitutes the frame of the argument around race, removing it from the hands of those with little experience of its resonances. Eddo-Lodge’s podcast About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge, premiered in March 2018 and also comes highly recommended.
Ava DuVernay's outstanding documentary takes us from slavery to Jim Crow to criminalisation, showing the chain of racial inequality forged by political and economic motives. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth watching on Netflix now.
When Layla Saad ran a free month-long Instagram challenge during the summer of 2018, she had no idea it would become an international cultural movement. Thousands of people from around the world were galvanised by the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, examining and owning responsibility for the ways in which they uphold white supremacy. Over 80,000 people downloaded her guide to the movement, Me and White Supremacy Workbook in the space of just six months. Now, that guide is a published book which everyone should read.
In this collection of essential essays and speeches, Audre Lorde wrote: “Revolution is not a one-time event.” A must-read in terms of challenging readers’ unacknowledged privileges and complicity in oppression as she explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class.