Read our collection of articles from Freedom and Justice Week in an easy to browse flipbook.
Freedom and Justice
Freedom and Justice Week series is in response to the wave of protest that was triggered by the murder of George Floyd. Our aim is to provide a platform for a diversity of voices to explore how we respond to the protests.
Over the course of Freedom and Justice Week, our authors have provided glimpses into how racism has penetrated their communities, their workplaces, their schools, and their countries. What these articles demonstrate is that, while country contexts may vary, humanity has a problem with racism and bigotry that knows no borders and that is pervasive, toxic, and dehumanising. For people asking “what can I do?” our authors did not disappoint. Across the board, they call for action – from institutions and individuals, and all points in between. This series offers a place to start and a challenge to be honest, ambitious, and practical.
The United States is confronted by the culmination of its long history of police brutality and exploitation of Black people. And the stark reality of privilege in this country was also made clear as Black people faced higher infection and mortality rates of COVID-19. It is clear that no matter what crisis Americans face, Black people will suffer trauma at a disproportionate rate. It is now time for privileged individuals to acknowledge the liberties and capital they have is tainted by the trauma of individuals they have never met.
Over the last few weeks, The Western Spring unmasked how little Black lives matter. In the US, while Black people make up only 13% of the US population, they are three times more likely to be killed by police and make up over a quarter of deaths by COVID-19. As young leaders, we recognise that in order to succeed in our work while living in a country that continues to reinforce systematic racism and white supremacy, we must continue to challenge the institutions upholding racial and ethnic inequalities.
We’re living in a painful time in America’s story. It sucks. That being said, we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finish the chapter. To write history. To shape the future in a momentous way. To build a world where my now three-year-old son can walk the streets safely and confidently with your son. We can get there.
This moment is a fitting one to consolidate a body of work by activists, academics, and other civil society organisations into an international instrument capturing our shared commitment to finally eradicating police brutality everywhere. But are resolutions and debates are an adequate and constructive response to the global outcry? The time and resources of the African Union would be better spent consolidating work into a binding standard against which all states should be monitored and evaluated.
While Bermuda does not have the same racialised violence that has sparked widespread protest in the United States, even our idyllic island is not immune to the poison prejudice of racism. We have our own brand of racism – it just looks and feels different. It always has. But now is the moment to right the wrongs and the tides are changing.
Two NHS leaders from different generations, and different points of the institutional hierarchy, reflect on the impact of the Black Lives Matter resurgence within the NHS and offer three reflections for public service leaders.
As women of colour, we have seen racism manifest itself in our personal and professional lives. As products of international schools, we have also benefited from the tremendous privilege of being educated in world-class institutions and being exposed to many cultures, religions, and ethnicities from an early age. While there are many examples of the good work and progress that have been made by international schools to address racism, there are many others that continue to shelter an environment of racial inequity. The protests around the world provide a moment of reckoning and a teachable moment and we ask that the systems that govern international schools do better.
Where I work, the stories of past traumas from racist experiences have come pouring out from both staff and young people. And as I heard their experiences, my initial anger turned into an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. But this sense of heaviness also began to change, as I understood the opportunity for people to speak their truth. And that Dr King’s dream of equality can still be realised in the generations to come.
Global society is in a moment that history books will recount well into the future. We have entered an era that was foreseen, but also emerged with the intensity of a slap to the face. The time for serious change has arrived. People invented the systems and the rules that we live under, and people have the power to change them.
A cry for justice is echoing around the world. In the US millions of people are marching to demand changes to the failures of the American justice system. In Mali, crowds gathered to demand change to a justice system that is considered corrupt. The cry for an independent judiciary was loud on the streets of Beirut last weekend. And the demand for justice will continue to grow. But there is a better way. Here are our recommended next steps.
In Turkey, those who had these opportunities because they were born in the ‘right’ part of the country feel superior to the others and discriminate against those who didn’t have the same luck. We need visionary leadership that tackles intra-race racism as well as the hatred that festers between races, so that we are no longer defined by the colour of our skin.
In our dreams for a post-COVID world, what should we demand of our international relations and international public good institutions? What does it mean to de-colonise and transform development and humanitarian enterprise so that it is anti-racist within and without? We want to offer some thoughts.
The killing of George Floyd became a problem for all of us. What would it take for this no longer to be seen as a US problem, a black problem, a ghetto problem, a problem for the poor? There is something different happening this time. The protests around the world and the interconnectedness of the young gives this moment an urgency.
Welcome to our Freedom and Justice Week series, in response to the wave of protest that was triggered by the murder of George Floyd. Our aim is to provide a platform for a diversity of voices to explore how we respond to the protests.
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