Black Lives Matter: Carshalton Event
Upon hearing of the Carshalton Black Lives Matter demo, I knew I had to be there - from a family, faith, political and social perspective, it all added up. We decided to go as a family, confident it would be safe and character building for my boys.
The most profound thing I experienced was not what I expected. I have experience of being a minority voice, or opinion in some situations, and with my capabilities and privileges I have learnt to manage and thrive. However, since the death of George Floyd and the impact in the UK, I have begun to think more about what it is to be a minority and having to negotiate a prejudiced system.
I cycled to the event with 3 large banners, all expressing BLM solidarity. It was on this journey that I suddenly thought, ‘who is looking at me? What do they think about me? Will I receive any negativity?’ I wondered if I was accepted by those I passed, if their eye contact or thoughts ‘othered’ me...I suddenly felt vulnerable and in a minority.
On reflection, I learnt that seeking to show solidarity with black people from Sutton is a good way to understand some of the subtle prejudices we face and a chance to be more proactive, to level up. So, I am looking at unconscious bias training for my team at work.
After attending the event I asked my boys about what impacted them, they said: 'I felt quite incredible, to feel how important it was to shout about it' (Elias, age 9) and 'it horrible to hear what has happened in some people lives due to their skin colour' (Lorens, age 11).
We have some way to go to achieve real equality. I hope that the best parts of the BLM movement can influence our community with knock-on effects on our society's many other unequal systems and situations.