"We see the world as it is - and refuse to settle for it": Activism in the neo-civil rights movement

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

This Black History Month we are delighted to be working with some excellent Black activists on our blog. This time we are joined by content creator Itunu Abolarinwa. She talks to us about how the world is waking up to issues that are deeply rooted in our societies, taking action, and how hope can blossom in even the most tragic circumstances.

By Itunu Abolarinwa:

After the tragic death of George Floyd, the world seemed to be jolted from its slumber. The link between racism and police brutality was no longer a subject of debate or a matter to be scrolled past; rather its evil and murderous qualities were blatant for all to see.

George Floyd memorial wall

This is not the first time the world has been privy to abuse of power and violent killings of innocent Black people. However, perhaps because of the global pandemic we are no longer distracted by life’s worries and whims and can see that activism is not an option, but a necessity.

The neo-civil rights movement is arguably what we can call this time. A time of uprising, of action and speaking up. The past few months have unfurled a deeply rooted issue, injustice has been woven into the fabric of society.

Yet, rather than the feelings of hopelessness that usually follow trying times, there seems to be a new fire in the bellies of people worldwide.

Black Lives Matter protestors

Perhaps it’s passion or being well and truly fed up, but no longer are people settling for outrage, they want to see change.

I must admit, I was a tiny bit cynical when I saw threads teeming with regret about being

ignorant about the realities of racism. As the black squares appeared on my Instagram feed to express solidarity with Black Lives Matter my cynicism deepened. I couldn’t help but slightly roll my eyes at people just realising that police brutality and racism was a worldwide issue and one that deserves attention.

Black Lives Matter protesters take a knee

However, I took a gulp of humble pie when #EndSARS started to appear on my timeline. A proud Nigerian in the diaspora, I had to come to the difficult reality that I too was ignorant and needed to educate myself about issues happening in my country of heritage. I too had to be silent and choose to elevate the voices of those educated on the topic and those sadly experiencing the difficulties of police brutality in Nigeria.

Although one could revel in the sad reality of the depth of injustice happening in the world we must remember that it is a promising time. We are all waking up out of our slumber and making micro and macro changes.

With every hashtag, repost, thread, blog post, news article, donation link, placard and protest we are saying we see the world as it is, and refuse to settle for it.

Revolution in every generation looks different, but change is felt and hopefully this is a time where we feel change - deeply and permanently.

by Itunu Abolarinwa

Twitter @itunu_speaks

IG: @itunu_speaks

Itunu is a Political Science and International Relations with Year Abroad graduate from the University of Birmingham. She is a content creator, passionate about creating content that challenges thought and initiates change. With a deep interest in media and politics she is currently a Press and Marketing intern at the London Mayor’s Office.

You might also like: Black Lives Matter: How to support BAME communities through COVID-19

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