Four ways the world changed following George Floyd’s death
2020 will be a year that changed so much: the Covid-19 pandemic brought life as we know it to a standstill.
Not one country wasn’t impacted by it. It will also be known as the year of renewed and fresh discussions surrounding racial equality and police brutality.
This was sparked back in May 2020 after a video went viral showing George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in custody by a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost 9 minutes. It triggered mass global protests demanding racial equality and an end to police brutality towards black people.
It brought the Black Lives Matter movement into international consciousness and prompted changes in numerous industries. The following are 4 significant ways the world changed following Floyd’s death.
Statues brought down
Statues of controversially celebrated individuals were brought into question and some were vandalised.
The most famous toppling in the UK came from Bristol; a 125-year-old statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader, was targeted, knocked down by protesters and pushed into Bristol Harbour.
Colston’s life has been the source of debate for many years even prior to the protests. His name has been given to streets and buildings. He was a businessman who made his fortune primarily through his involvement as a slave trader, people are known to have died under his management. The statue, which has since been recovered, is expected to be placed in a museum where the history of his life will be emphasised.
Four people have since been charged with the criminal damage of Colston’s statue and they’re due to appear in court next year.
#BlackoutTuesday was a social media campaign that started in the music industry. The idea was to post a black square to encourage conversation of racial inequality, reflect and learn about the black lives matter movement.
The organisers of #BlackoutTuesday said that it was “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community [through] an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change”.
This campaign went viral and extended beyond the music industry with individuals, corporations and celebrities expressing their support to the Black Lives Matter movement and condemning the death of George Floyd.
People shared their experiences with racism
With social media, everyone now has a platform to share their experiences and connect with those who have been through something similar. The death of Floyd inspired people to come forward to describe their encounters of racial profiling and prejudice.
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Placard photo courtesy of Rodnay Productions
By kaz bosali: political Columnist
Misha B, a contestant on The X Factor in 2011, came forward to call out the show for projecting the ‘angry black girl narrative’ on her live on air. Judges Tulisa and Louis Walsh accused her of bullying other contestants. Alexandra Burke, the winner of the 2008 series, shared how she was told to bleach her skin and not wear braids in a bid to appeal to a white audience.
Sean Wallace, one of the chasers on the hit quiz show The Chase, detailed his experience in a documentary. He shared his story of how he was disregarded when he told one of his teachers that he wished to be a barrister.
These are just a handful of high-profile people who have come forward to share their stories of prejudice. In the digital world, where anyone with a story can go viral, people have less fears about coming forward against powerful corporations or individuals to share their experiences and ensure accountability.
Corporates commit to diversity and endorse BLM movement
Diversity and inclusion have become a priority for corporations with some committing to hit targets to increase people of colour sitting on board level.
Prominent ones include the television industry, with broadcaster ITV paving the way by placing an emphasis on hiring more BME individuals. The popular morning breakfast show This Morning has been reported to recruit a black presenter for the main show for the first time in its 32-year history.
It’s fuelled a fresh demand for BME individuals to have a seat at the table at the executive and senior levels. HSBC has set KPI’s for itself to double the black employers in senior management positions over the next 5 years.
Corporations such as H&M, Walmart and Etsy endorsed the BLM movement through financial donations.
The tragic and senseless murder of George Floyd didn’t just incite shallow conversations, it has now propelled corporations, individuals and communities into action towards change. It has prompted open discussions, consideration and empathy to a longstanding problem in society that has often been brushed under the carpet.
Despite the international lockdowns induced by the coronavirus, protesters took to the streets to demand reform. 2020 was a difficult year, but it marks a new decade, with racial equality at the forefront of it. And this ripple effect across the globe started from one man’s death.
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