Veganism is a social justice issue & movement so we all need start using our resources to learn about the latest matter in social justice, which is the Black Lives Matter Movement.
What’s The Story?
Just to give some context, on the 25th May, an unarmed black man named George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, USA. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Although this is irrelevant, George Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 bill in a shop. For $20, a man lost his life and a daughter lost her father. On top of that, he didn’t even get the chance to go through the justice system. Whether he was innocent or guilty, the real issue is that a man was killed because he was black, whereas if he was white, I can almost guarantee he would not have died in this unjust way.
Vegans And Social Justice
I personally find that most vegans are the most compassionate people towards the planet, humans and animals, so we need to show our support and do the most we can. Every day we all speak up so strongly about the meat, dairy and cruelty free industry, however I find on my social platforms there are some vegans that just haven’t acknowledged what is going on. We HAVE to stand with the black community, as I honestly don’t think that you can be a humanitarian vegan and ignore this issue. We respect animals as much as we do the planet and humans, and if this was to happen to a cat or dog we would be KICKING OFF like crazy, rightfully.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”Martin Luther King Jr
I’m Not Black, So What’s The Point?
Initially, naive me didn’t plan to get so involved as I’m not black, however I have experienced and seen racism being from an Asian background. To be silent is not enough. Even if you haven’t experienced racism, we all need to SHOW that we are being anti-racist, not just a silent non racist!
It’s not the easiest topic to speak about and I completely understand that. Sometimes you may not want to say the wrong thing, you may not even understand it or you just don’t feel your voice will make a difference. This is where educating yourself is so important, and if you read on, I’ve provided ways in which you can help.
What Is White Privilege?
White Privilege? Confused about the term? I was too, don’t worry. Initially my first thought was, well that sounds a bit racist! Then I read into it and really understood what it meant.
Dr Francis E Kendall, author of Understanding White Privilege, a book which delves into the complex interplay between race, power, and privilege in both organisations and private life said the answer “is very visible for those to whom privilege was not granted”. Dr Kendall explained “white privilege is an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those of us who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions”.
One of the primary privileges you benefit from as white, she writes, is that of having greater access to power and resources than people of colour do.
“In other words, purely on the basis of our skin colour doors are open to us that are not open to other people”, Dr Kendall wrote.
Listed below are Just a Few Examples of White Privilege
- Blacks receive almost 20% longer sentences for the same exact offenses as Whites.
- Having better chances of getting a job over a black person with the same qualifications.
- Having the Privilege of attending segregated schools of affluence.
- Only learning about White/European race in history lessons.
- Majority of children’s books are represented by white race.
- Media being blatantly biased towards White.
- Privilege of not being racially abused.
How Can Vegans Help?
You may or may not be vegan reading this, but this is how EVERYONE can help today:
Sign a Petition
- Sign the Justice for George Floyd petition here.
- Sign the petition for #WeCantBreathe here.
- Sign the Justice for Belly Mujinga petition here.
- Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor petition here.
- Sign the Justice for Tony McDade petition here.
- Sign the petition to raise the degree for Derek Chauvin’s murder charge here.
- Sign the petition to prosecute the Minneapolis Police Department’s officers who killed George Floyd here.
- Sign the petition for the UK government to condemn President Trump’s response to BLM protests here.
- Sign the petition for British schools to implement teaching British children about black history here.
- Runnymede Trust
- Show Racism the Red Card
- Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
- Race Equality First
- Stand Against Racism & Inequality
- Southall Black Sisters
- UK Black Pride
- Black Minds Matter
There are so many protests going on around the World. Initially, when you hear the word protest most people link it back to violence, tear gas and looting. There have been a number of peaceful protests around the World for George Floyd, from all different races. All 50 states in the U.S plus 18 countries participated in the #BlackLivesMatter protests as of yesterday. This makes it the largest civil rights movement in world history right now. If you don’t want to protest, here’s a few ways you can help fellow activists: Organise supplies such as hand sanitisers, face masks and first aid equipment, offer child care for those that want to protest but not take their children or even be an emergency contact. Sometimes, people can get hurt or arrested in protests, so they may need an emergency contact.
Watch Documentaries and Films
- 13th – Netflix
- We watched 13th yesterday on Netflix and learnt so much about black history in the space of an hour and a half. This documentary is a must-watch to learn more about the justice system in the US.
- When They See Us – Netflix
- This series addresses the case back in 1989 where 5 juvenile black boys were wrongly convicted of rape. This series shows systematic racism within the US Justice system.
- Dear White People – Netflix
- This comedy-drama series shows that reality of life as a black person in a society which is full of injustice.
- Noughts and Crosses – BBC Iplayer
- The series imagines an alternate Britain where white people are subordinate to people of colour in a powerful commentary on racism.
- BlackKklansman – Now TV
- BlackKklansman tells the true story of African-American detective Ron Stallworth, who successfully infiltrated the KKK in the 70s.
- Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap – Netflix
- Explained does an amazing job of breaking down real-life issues and covering a wide range of topics, including the racial wealth gap.
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story – Netflix
- This documentary is a huge eye opener, telling the story of the 16-year-old teen from the Bronx who spent three years in jail, despite committing no crime. He was finally released due to lack of evidence, after spending 2 of those years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, where it is intended to hold people for less than a year.
Social media is such a powerful tool, where you can learn and educate yourself. Not only that, keep on sharing anything you learn regardless of how big your following is. The more we learn, the more we share, the more we’ll be heard. There are so many people online now sharing information on black owned businesses and influencers, go check them out and support. Some of my favourite vegan black influencers on instagram include @vegan_at_tiffs, @badassvegan and @sedjedo.
Read more books, watch documentaries and have open discussions. Some recommended books include:
- When They Call You A Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
We all need to have these hard conversations, we need to challenge every single family member and friend. We need to actively support organisations and fight racism together.
Comment below and let me know what YOU are doing to help black lives today.