by Riva-Bleu Scott
The time is now. The time to educate. The time to acknowledge. The time for change. The time for empathy. The time for black lives to matter, as they should have always mattered. We, as educated citizens in society, have the power to make changes in order for equity and equality to take place. Education is key in order to achieve this, which is why it is so important to put ignorance aside, step out of comfort zones and address racial injustices that may be uncomfortable to talk about.
Throughout my life I have grown to be racially conscious, being taught that my experiences will differ from those of other races and white privilege will always be an extra barrier I need to cross in order to get where I want in life. This is just the norm for people of colour. If not parents that teach their kids this, they will grow and experience it for themselves, adapting their lifestyle in order to stay afloat after their skin colour continues to hinder them. As a white person, if not taught this you would have no understanding of how other races experience life differently and the colour of your skin will never negatively effect you in today’s society. This leads to micro-aggressions, institutional racism and ignorance.
Many will find it hard to be discontent and speak on the matter, as well as find the time to educate themselves on others experiences or simply acknowledge their privilege. For the past few weeks I have learnt to break out of my own shell and use my voice, in order to achieve change. I am a fairly quiet person but, in spite of this, I have put my voice out there to reach as many of the school community who believe in equality.
Following the murder of George Floyd, SCHS remained quiet, which in my opinion felt remarkably wrong. I felt that the time is now and there is no reason to wait to encourage change within Streatham and Clapham. I took it upon myself to write to the school on behalf of those that believe in equality on ways in which SCHS can change to encourage more awareness of black lives in history and society, alongside many ways to educate students to prevent further ignorance in future generations. For me this was a big challenge, together with writing this article as it is something I have never done before. Although I felt uncomfortable at times I learnt that there is nothing to be afraid of when making a positive change for others. The time is now and there is no reason for you to stay silent where now silence is seen as betrayal. Education is the key in order to achieve change, which is why we should all make a contribution in taking time to understand others’ experiences regarding race.