Black lives matter is the statement that became the slogan that became the movement.
If you are someone who reads the headline Black Lives Matter and feels like retorting ‘all lives matter‘ think twice. I fear that in saying this, you are missing the point entirely. We do not clap for the NHS on a Thursday evening saying all jobs matter.
The reason Black lives matter is exactly because all lives should matter. All lives will matter only when black lives matter equally.
The initial support of the movement fighting against systemic racism which peaked after the tragic murder of American citizen George Floyd seems to have slowed, my Instagram is no longer covered in black squares or promises of solidarity. There are no daily reminders to stand as one or unify in the face of adversity.
The rhetoric must not end here.
Our individual voices may be small and although we are unlikely to overhaul the system alone, it is paramount that we do not simply concede defeat for fear of being ignored. We cannot underestimate our own power. We must all learn how to be allies instead of merely bystanders to the injustice.
We all have a part to play, for me, the one thing I know I can do is to simply to educate myself. Below are five books I have read over the past few weeks all of which are informative, important and beautifully powerful.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie is my first choice. It is an easy to read, fun tale of love, friendship and the struggles of finding your feet as young woman. I sobbed my way through this book, it is so wonderfully relatable and familiar. It a story which is full to bursting with strong, multi-dimentioanl black women which is exactly what womens’ fiction has been crying out for. It is bright, refreshing and brilliantly written.
Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo
I have devoured this wonderful book. No words I write here will be able to do justice to the feat that is Girl Woman other. This non-conformist prose tells the poetic tale of twelve British black women identifying with different sexualities, genders, ethnicities and roots. It is gloriously diverse and bewitchingly complex. You will not regret reading this.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
This is a book is based on Laylas Instagram challenge #meandwhitesupremacy which took white people through a 28-day series of guided reflections about what racism is and how they internalised and embodied it. This book is an essential read which teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop, often unintentionally, inflicting damage on people of colour.
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
Mira Jacobs takes the reader on a journey as a first generation American during a time which is increasingly fraught for immigrants and their families. This is a unique and graphic memoir that delves in to the difficult conversations of race, sex, love and family.
The fire this time by Jesmyn Ward
The fire this time is a powerful collection of essays and poems all written by a new generation speaking out about race. Each entry is so alive with purpose, conviction, intellect and passion that as soon as you finish you feel like you have no choice but to demand change.