The world has turned to chaos following the death of George Floyd, who was an African-American man killed last week in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While being pinned to the ground and pleading that he couldn’t breathe, his death was found to be caused by a cardiopulmonary arrest inflicted from the force of the police officer while being restrained. Four Minneapolis officers have been dismissed and one has been charged with both murder and manslaughter.
This incident is hauntingly similar to the death of Eric Garner, who also died in a police officer’s chokehold in New York, while uttering the words ‘I can’t breathe’ in 2014. Protests have turned wildly violent in the United States with stores being burned down, theft and hundreds of arrests as police officers and their cars are being vandalised.
While many believe protests are occurring in support of the injustice of this incident alone, Floyd’s death was not the first, and BlackLivesMatter was in fact founded in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murder. This foundation is a global organisation who aims to eradicate white supremacy and put a stop to the unfair violence imposed upon Black communities by law enforcement officers.
At Her Economy, one of our fundamental values is to promote workplace equality, both in terms of race and gender and we are constantly seeking ways of mitigating the misrepresentation of minority groups in companies. The inherent racism and mistreatment of coloured individuals is placing a huge barrier in being able to combat these workplace issues, and we must take a firm stance against it happening further.
Companies need to be employing based on talent, experience and drive regardless of skin colour or which gender the candidate identifies with. According to Glassdoor, 67% of active job seekers say that when assessing companies and job offers, it is essential that the brand promotes and supports a diverse set of employees. Consulting firm EY was the first of the ‘Big Four’ to assign full-time, partner level leadership to diversity recruiting.
While so many of us are taking to social media to show our support for Black lives and to acknowledge the pain they have continually been caused, there are many other effective ways we can help. Racism is a touchy subject and we are often held back in fear of saying the wrong thing; the reality is however, that we are living through it right now and we should be asking ourselves what we can be doing to band together?
1. Educate yourself and those around you: ask questions and have open conversations, read and watch documentaries and try to comprehend the expansive history of Black people fighting for justice. The earlier we can have conversations with younger people the better, so it is vital you are honest with children by explaining the situation to them, with the aim being to eventually normalise these conversations.
2. Know your privilege: understand what opportunities your skin colour provides you, even if it is as simple as walking down the street and feeling safe. Consider what it is like to live in fear of doing basic daily activities because you are coloured.
4. Check in on Black friends, families and colleagues: This is a particularly sensitive time for Black communities and so we must consider how this media coverage is making them feel and what sort of emotions they could be experiencing.
5. Keep supporting after the outrage: Although there is extensive media surrounding George Floyd’s death currently, it will slowly begin to quieten again. However, it should not take this amount of brutality for you to act, show support and begin a long-term strategy; we cannot simply wait for the next Black death to react.
Her Economy has put together a list of organisations we believe deserve support from you so please play your part and make a difference:
Organisations/Pages to follow: