The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis incited a powerful wave of protests against police brutality in America. The movement has rapidly spread worldwide, with many people in Europe's major cities also taking a stand against racism. The fight against anti-blackness goes way beyond the US and it is important for Europeans to identify their complicity in the problem and resources to combat it.
It's crucial to acknowledge that institutionalized racism and the continued ramifications of slavery for black people everywhere is an originally European system, which white Europeans are also beneficiaries of. Discrimination and deep-rooted racism is a daily reality for black people in Europe — not just in America. This is why fighting racism in Europe is necessary and important, but getting started might not be so straight forward.
With many online conversations geared towards black communities and activism in the States, people in Europe are looking for their own ways to locally contribute and make political change against racism. As Amsterdam-based model Noor identifies, "many people in Europe (including me) wanted to contribute to this fight against anti-blackness, but didn’t know where to start since they don’t live in the USA."
In response, Noor has compiled a valuable guide on how to help from Europe, providing useful tips to make a change. Swipe through the gallery below to read each step and keep reading for a full breakdown plus some additional information.
She starts by explaining the importance of social activism – regardless of your platform's size. "It doesn't matter if you have 10 followers or 100,000. It's important to keep the conversation going and to spread awareness." She also notes that many resources that have sprung up in the US in light of Floyd's murder are also accessible to Europeans.
Call, Email, Donate
While texting US District Attorneys and Governors may not be an option, an alternative is to email to email@example.com. Many petitions and donations are also accessible irrespective of region (find out which ones here).
In the UK, donate to charities and NGOs like Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust or Stand Up To Racism, who campaign for racial inequality. The Green & Black Cross provides legal support to protestors and activists. Across the EU, show support by donating to educational anti-racism charities like The Red Card and the European Network Against Racism
Write to your MP. Call for an immediate suspension of UK sales of tear gas, riot shields, and rubber bullets to the US. Demand that the UK government condemn Trump’s use of force against his own citizens. Find your local MP here and find a letter template below.
How to Find Protests
Facebook certainly still holds the monopoly in regards to the easiest way to search for protests and demonstrations in your local area. In the US, the Black Lives Matter official website lists its chapters; while there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent in the EU, some cities have dedicated websites such as Black Lives Matter Berlin, so be sure to research if the same is offered in your city. Keyword searching protest + city on Twitter is another option.
Know Your Rights
Per the European Convention on Human Rights’ Freedom of Assembly, it is your fundamental right to gather with other people and make collective voices heard. This is paramount to democracy. Everyone has the right to freedom and peaceful protest, particularly in relation to political, trade union, and civic matters.
Beyond social activism, Noor notes it is important to educate ourselves and fight racism offline. It's important to assess how white supremacy manifests itself in your own country. She highlights the importance of paying attention to "coded language" that is anti-black used in media and conversations.
It's also important that white Europeans not put the burden of education on black people, but seek out resources and listen to black experiences themselves. Identify the black community projects and activists within your own cities and countries and follow their work. Commit your actions to have a long-term impact.
Once you start looking, you'll discover a myriad of easily-accessible starting points: Film is a great place to start — this list delivers a number of movies that center around black voices and narratives. A number of organizations are also hosting digital screenings. For example, London's Greenwich Peninsula, in collaboration with Bounce Cinema and BFI Archives, has curated a number of special screenings that explore topics of identity and community, featuring work from names including the cultural theorist Stuart Hall and drum and bass icon, Goldie. Head here for more information.
Join us in taking a stance against institutionalized racism.