When you finish reading this whether it is on a phone or laptop, once you close or lock the device you must realise the fight does not stop at your fingertips. Black Lives Matter is a lifelong commitment, it is an everyday battle to ensure the systematic oppression of black people ends. Everyone has a role to play, whether it is using your platform to be an outlet to show the injustices of society or putting pressure on your company to ensure equality in the workplace. However, the fight in real life is what will make systemic change.
It is a lifelong fight because the systematic oppression of black people has manifested into all walks of life and endangers and puts black people at a disadvantage. The system has been about for longer than me and you have been alive. Systematic oppression is police brutality, it is why the global south is underdeveloped and riddled with corrupt leaders, it is not being accepted or looked at for a job because of your name, it is black kids being stripped of their innocence and having to be educated on the reality of the system and not being able to enjoy their youth.
The system must be dismantled, it will be a lifelong mission which may come at a potential cost. Toussant L’ouvertre, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba, Huey P. Newton, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Queen Nanny, Sanite Belair and many more fought for us to be able to fight the system today even though it cost them. You have to be okay with the potential cost. Ultimately, it is an obligation to our ancestors to finish their battle and to the many more who will not be named because they all played a role.
I often hear the rhetoric of people believing they are incapable of making a change or difference. This is the furthest statement from the truth, every day you can make a change. You must be willing to put your time, money and your spirit where your mouth is. A commitment is not easy but nothing worth having has ever come easy. Choices you have every day such as choosing where to shop, choosing what to listen to and signing petitions make a difference. It is imperative to understand everyone has a different role to play whether that is marching and protesting or donating to bail funds. All these different roles support the community around us which is essential for the advancement of the black community.
We must not quarrel or explain to people who are not willing to learn or who are refusing to see. The rebuttal of the cause is often “All Lives Matter” or “Black on black crime”. Whilst we seek to explain why such statements are nonsense, sometimes we must realise it is simply a waste of time and effort because people who voice this rhetoric are not willing to learn. We must not waste time and effort; we must focus and stay on message. Our energy must go into supporting and empowering each other because everything we do makes a difference.
The capability of everyone is different but if it helps advance the black community we must carry on. If you help make someone’s life better or a group of people then it is imperative you must carry on and hopefully the wave of support will continue when it is no longer trending. For those who do not think they do not make a difference, simply you do. Lifestyle choices you do every day help empower others and every day you empower somebody black you are helping to make a change.
You may have a greater opportunity cost initially to empower others. For example, a black-owned start-up company may get it wrong but that does not mean we have to attack or discredit the work they have done. It is a room for improvement and a room for learning so they can become better. We must support and enable growth because the end goal is greater than the sacrifice. For Colin Kaepernick, the cost was being blackballed but four years later the sacrifice which he has made, is bigger than American football. For Toussaint L’ouverture, Sainte Belair and the enslaved Africans who led the first slave revolt in Haiti the cost is evident by the state of Haiti caused by France due to the repercussions of revolting but the end goal of being the first black republic and being remembered in history and inspiring many other slave revolts is monumental.
Black Lives Matter is a lifelong commitment, not a temporary hashtag or performative activism. It is the opening of black business, employing black people, affordable housing, creating community initiatives, reforming education and many more programs which empower, support and develop black lives. Support black projects, writers, cleaners, students, models, footballers, drivers, creators and store workers. Support black people. We all make a difference. Make your private actions match your public stance, let your tweets be your reality. Everyone has a role lets keep fighting the battle every day. Black lives have mattered and will always matter.