BLACK LIVES MATTER: TRUE ACROSS BORDERS
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Black Lives Matter protesters outside Canada’s parliament buildings. Picture Credit: Adrian Wyld/ The Canadian Press
Thought piece: Alicia Bridges and Sandy Hudson. Q&A: Founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada Explains the Call to Defund Police. CBC. 16 June 2020.
Living in Canada, and being forced to be indoors during the COVID-19 lockdown, sometimes makes me feel very distanced from what is happening in the USA. When the news of George Floyd’s death was first publicized, I regret that I didn’t take a closer look at it. I saw it as a typical American problem and something that didn’t really affect me since I am a citizen of another country. This distancing was also possible because I am a white privileged male who has never truly experienced the hardships that people of color have faced.
Then shame set in. How quick I had been to dismiss such an important issue of human rights and civil violations simply because it wasn't about people like me or happening on my front doorstep. As the international protests and media momentum grew, I started to rethink my stance. I also began to realize that police brutality targeting black bodies wasn't simply an American issue. It happens in Canada too. I just hadn't paid attention to it because I didn't have to. I was protected by the color of my skin. The fight for social justice shouldn't have to be a matter of the color of one’s skin.
While the death of an innocent black man George Floyd happened in the USA, and that too, at the hands of the police, the issue quickly became a global one because of the growing incidence of police brutality across various countries. Seeing the outcry of support for the “Black Lives Matter” Movement across my country awoke me to the idea that to create change, everyone needs to be vocal. It has been very heartwarming to see the love and compassion that the entire world has shown for this movement but I believe that more action is needed for sustainable change to happen at all levels where daily lives are impacted by racist decisions -- whether that is education, housing, employment, media representations, or the differential treatment in the hands of the law.
I have always supported the “Black Lives Matter” Movement, but done so silently. It is now clear to me that for real change to happen, everyone needs to show up and be visible and vocal in their support so that this is not just a Black ‘problem’; what affects one community or group, affects us all. If we believe in equality, freedom, and justice for all, these should be the same for everyone regardless of how they look or who they are.
Black Lives Matter not just in Minneapolis, not just in Minnesota, not just within the United States, but across the world.
~~ Jack Barron-Sluga (Class of '23. Allegheny College Men's Soccer)
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