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How Long Will The Black Lives Matter Solidarity Last?

Protesters kneel in solidarity in the Dilworth neighborhood in Charlotte, NC | Photo by Jon Olangi

There’s an ongoing protest across the globe for the murder of George Floyd, at the hands of law enforcement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While the entire world is showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and making statements to denounce systemic racism, I cannot shake this uneasy feeling. We’ve seen congressional Democrats pandering with Kente cloth as they knelt for George Floyd. Again, I cannot shake this uneasy feeling. Ironically, I’ve been dwelling on my uneasiness in attempting to find the root cause of said uneasiness. I’m honestly wondering how long will this solidarity last? How long will Black lives truly matter? More importantly, how long did it take for people to see that Black lives weren’t being preserved?

In Time Magazine’s June issue, the headline reads, “America’s Long Overdue Awakening to Systemic Racism”. So I ask the question; What does that mean? Overdue awakening for who exactly?

Black people in America have always fought against racism and oppression, so who has awakened? White Americans & non black people of color? Corporations that made a statement to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter? Are those statements even genuine?, or are they just an attempt to preserve long term revenue from Black people? Are they only concerned when there’s no excuse to be made? It seems that only police brutality has been the tipping point, and not everything else that is wrong about systemic racism in this country.

Protesters march through one of Charlotte's oldest and wealthiest neighborhoods | Photo by Jon Olangi

The support from “white allies” is appreciated when it’s genuine and sincere, so we don't always have to be dismissive towards them. We have the ears of our nation, as well as a large portion of the world's eyes on the police injustice and brutality that we’ve endured since the inception of the police. It’s up to us to continue to push the envelope and proceed strategically in a time like this, and not let these opportunities pass to capitalize on the influx of allies. It’s a perfect opportunity to open the floor for conversations that are plaguing the Black community far worse than police brutality alone. Of course we have to demand justice for unjustified police killings, but we must not stop there.

We cannot be satisfied with the performative activism of those who feel they can put a band-aid over a gaping cut. So if the question is, how long will the support and solidarity last? I believe that is up to us as Black people. It's on us to capitalize on this very moment where it’s trendy to support the Black Lives Matter movement. We can't be too naive and not see this window of opportunity to make concrete progressions for marginalized and victims of systemic racism.

It’s time to play this game strategically to position ourselves for a true cultural shift in America. We have to demand change from those within the system, no matter their field of work. This goes for education, politics, housing, social reform, wage disparities, etc. We have to take this moment and make it last forever by putting laws and policies in place that will allow the future Black generations to flourish on a land that was originally theirs and their ancestors to begin with. As a community, its important we're appreciative of every level of the fight against racism. Everyone plays a part no matter what avenue of activism that you choose. With that being said; how long will Black lives matter? Until we say soand we say, forever, the time is now.

Je'Ron Chester is the founder of TTT Media, a writer and podcast host, where he covers arts and culture. Connect on his Twitter and Instagram


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