Understanding what the Black Lives Matter Movement is all about

Blog by Anneka Shah

As our country opens up from lockdown and we return to the freedom of our “normal life”, we have to think about improving this “normal”. The Black Lives Matter Movement, which re-ignited earlier this year, shows that COVID-19 cannot and must not stop us from fighting social issues. Whilst media coverage on this matter has decreased significantly, we must keep up the momentum to really make a change in our society.

Read and Listen

The first step is to understand what the moment is about, and with the internet putting endless amounts of information at our fingertips, it is now easier than ever to educate yourself. Reading from many different sources (not just one news outlet) will give you a variety of opinions on any social movement. A great way to get information from different sources is social media. Head to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to educate yourself through various mediums.

Check out @southasians4blacklivesmatter on Instagram as a starting point!

Learning is not limited to the news and social media. Books and films are also a great way to learn. I recommend watching Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act episode “We cannot stay silent about George Floyd”, or the film The Hate U Give.

Talk

Once you yourself have understood the movement, the best thing you can do is share this understanding with others around you. Focus especially on those who do not have access to materials as easily as you do. Talk to your elders who do not use social media, or your family members who do not speak English or have limited access to the media. Sanskar Teaching has done excellent videos on YouTube in Gujarati and Hindi, explaining this and other social issues, which you can share with your family and community.

A common question amongst communities is, “Why isn’t it ‘all lives matter’?” To explain this to your family and friends, this cartoon might be helpful:

Talking also means questioning people’s microaggressions (indirect or subtle discriminations), which for example in our community might be, “Their skin is too dark”.

Support

Supporting black and asian people is a great way to show our solidarity with the movement. As a community of business owners ourselves, we know how important it is to support small businesses. Try to support local community businesses, and rather than buying from a third party such as Amazon, go directly to the business to buy!

As with everything mentioned in this quick post, it will take time to change so do not worry if you cannot break old habits instantly. Actively thinking, reading and talking about the Black Lives Matter movement and other social issues will bring you closer to your goal!

As individuals we can support and follow any cause, but of course Oshwal is a registered charity, and there are limitations placed under Charity Law on political activism. Therefore, while I understand our community may not be able to engage in supporting such political movements, but I am happy that as an individual, my community has given me the opportunity to share my personal views.

Thank you and take care.