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Don't turn your back on Black lives when the hashtags fade

4 37 25

The last couple of weeks have felt different. There is a new energy in the air. An energy that makes me – tentatively – hopeful.

Since the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the US, we have seen a global response on a scale I have never witnessed in my lifetime.

Black Lives Matter protests hit the streets in every American state, before spilling out across the world. In London, thousands marched to the US embassy to make their voices heard. In Bristol, protesters pulled a statue of a 17th Century slave trader to the ground and tossed him in the river.

But now, the hard work really begins. In order for this moment to truly signal the starting point for real change, there needs to be a commitment to doing the work on a long-term scale. Not just for the duration of the latest news cycle.

Yes, there has been performative solidarity, tokenistic support, misjudged social media symbolism – but there has also been real, meaningful messaging shared on global platforms. We’ve seen corporate statements that called for the ‘dismantling of white supremacy’ and the other officers involved in George Floyd’s death are facing charges thanks to the scale of public pressure.

I have never seen so many people engaged in the issue of racial injustice. After writing about the protests and the need for white people to speak out against racism, I was inundated with messages from strangers, old colleagues, people I haven’t seen since school, friends who have never before even mentioned race to me.

It would be naive to confuse social media noise with lasting, societal change, but in the messages I received there was a clear willingness to........

© Metro