Thoughts & Experience

#BlackLivesMatter – Finding Voice

The murder of George Floyd on the 25th May 2020 has rocked communities all over the world. But he isn’t the first person to die because of the colour of his skin, and nor will he be the last. Enough is enough. The inherently racist societal structures and beliefs we can see so clearly in the US, and that are just as present and vehement here in the UK, must be dismantled. It has to stop. We must all make it stop.

This post has sat in my head for days. We wanted to put something out to express our sorrow, rage and disgust not only at George’s death but at the hundreds and hundreds of stories we have read over the past few days detailing the systematic racism and violence faced by black people on both sides of the pond. But we needed time to think, to reflect, to listen to what was needed. There was also the question of whether it was our place to say something and if we could say something useful. We always want to put out content that helps people to find the tools to feel better, but how could we ever make anyone feel better about this?

Our tagline is “fighting the darkness of mental illness with Manchester spirit.”

What is darker than what is happening right now?

What is more damaging to the mental health and well-being of black communities than the fear they feel for their lives?

And what is more Mancuian than standing up and calling bullshit on injustice?

We cannot say we are a community and stay silent.

In addition to sharing our own thoughts, ECBC is a place for people from all backgrounds to share their experiences with mental illness or journey to better well-being. We are aware that we still have a lot of work to do to become truly inclusive. We have had very limited black contributors to our blog, and we want all people to feel their experiences and voices are heard and valued. We recognise that it is our responsibility to find better ways to seek out and amplify these valuable voices, as well as address the overt and covert issues which may affect them.

Also, as three white women, we recognise the responsibility we have as individuals. White people have got to start doing the work. It’s not good enough to say, “well I’m clearly not racist because XYZ” and think you’re excused from the class.

Actively learn about the racism in our world. Don’t rely on your black friends to point it out to you (and please don’t use them as a search engine- Google it!)

Listen to black voices. Follow people on social media. Read books by black authors and learn about the black experience. Lend them to your friends. Share the work of black artists (with citations), attend lectures and courses run by black people. Pay for their knowledge and skill.

Have difficult conversations with your loved ones. Pick apart what you were taught as children. Call out racism, whether there is a black person there or not. Hold people to account.

Recognise your own privilege and the racism you have internalised. Feel the feels. It’s okay if it’s uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable. Don’t turn away. Anyone who’s done any kind of work on their mental health knows it is important to sit with negative emotions, to talk to them. Why are you there? Where did you come from? Are you helping me live a positive life? Apply the same logic here.

Take action. Sign petitions. Donate to causes. Vote with your conscience. Use your platform, not matter how limited it is.

Accept you’re not going to get it right all the time. This isn’t easy. This shit takes time to unlearn. Stay focused. Don’t let it drop when the news cycle changes. Keeping doing the work. Make the world better with your love.

Stay safe and love fiercely,

Jodie x

 

 

 

 

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