Solidarity with BLM: Transforming Empathy into Action
Black Lives Matter from a neurodivergent and diaspora perspective:
Preston Mitchcum, Board Co-chair of Collective action for safe spaces asked on Twitter: ‘Do you know how angry people must be to go outside for days- by the thousands during a global health pandemic to protest anti-black violence?’
The answer is nuanced, spanning continents, generations, the answer is uncomfortable, painful and still raw for many. We are in the midst of history being made, not only in America but globally, the world is watching, listening and responding to the systemic oppression and at its most extreme the murder of African Americans Like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the tidal wave of pain left behind by these injustices that ripple out across the world. Families like Ahmaud Arbery’s, Sean Bell’s and Philando Castile’s are examples of families standing in the gap to make change, ignited through the same catalyst of injustice and loss.
Those like myself who exist at the intersections, from the diaspora, those with a disability and neurodivergence can empathise with the waves and ripples of trauma and sheer exhaustion spilling out of America, the injustice and in some cases mirror reflections of local and national struggles; parallel experiences that resonate with us on many levels across modes and languages.
I have given myself permission to cry, to double down on the fact that it’s ok to need and seek out nourishing relief for the inner self in testing times, to tell my family I love them, to reach out to friends who have the biggest hearts but struggle with self-care, struggling as we all do in testing times.
In times like this, the craft is enduring, surviving, this is the articulated output.
The world has become smaller, more joined-up and is better for it.
Across the UK at 6pm on 3rd June, all those supporting Black Lives Matter took a knee #TakeTheKnee on their doorstep declaring that #BlackLivesMatter; many of us empathise with African Americans who are enduring this, exhausted but still with so much to do in order to embed long-lasting change, a change that the ancestors would look upon and smile, that kind of change. A change African Americans should not have to embark on alone.
How do we transform support into actions? There are many anti-racism focused organisations that can be engaged with globally and online to contribute; the below resource is but one way for people who desire to help embed change, to be allies and begin or deepen anti-racism work, the link/resources have been created by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES, there’s also anti-racist organisation Carry Our Weight and UK focused anti-racism reading lists and recommendations on social media. For those needing support during these challenging times, there are organisations like Black Minds Matter UK that are able to provide support.
Those existing at the intersections extend thoughts, love, strength and most importantly action with support and protests online, showing solidarity through using #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackOutTuesday and #TakeTheKnee to protesting in the streets IRL, all over the world; the global majority supports black lives mattering.
To quote the poet Dinos Christianopoulos ‘They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.’
This is more than a moment.
NOTE FROM THE WRITER: Natasha Trotman is a neurodivergent, Inclusive Designer and Researcher; her work examines different ways of experiencing and processing the world.
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: We would like to use this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Natasha for writing this incredibly important piece for us. It was very important for us to address the issues we currently face and Natasha has done so wonderfully — thank you!