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Our Friendships: What Are They Good For?

“In light of the killing of George Floyd and the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on BAME communities, we want to reach out to our network and especially to our BAME members. We would like to acknowledge whatever you may be feeling during this time, and let you know that - although by no means perfect - we at SSE stand together in our fight for equity and the rights for all people to feel safe”. Solidarity message such as this does make a whole world of difference. As an SSE Fellow, it has given me a tremendous sense of pride to wear the SSE badge. Thanks, @davemcglashan - School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE).

Without doubt, this has been both wretched and incredible couple of weeks for people of black heritage. The statues of those complicit in the worst crime against humanity in history – the slave trade did not fare well either. History is our witness.

We have endured over five hundred years of oppression, exploitation and humiliation as a race. Despite endless rhetorics by Western leaders to address these injustices, being black today in many parts of the USA, Russia, Europe, China and some Arab States has continued to pose a danger to our health, career and emotional wellbeing. While we endure and hope that authorities would put a stop to the suffering, the rest of the world spoke with silence.

It is under such conditions that empathy and support for the Black Lives Matter and other similar movements became inevitable. Especially, when our cries for peaceful approach and discourse on racial equity were repeatedly ignored, by those who presumed black people are here for their amusement.

Amid these overwhelming emotions and pains, we still paused to acknowledge that all lives matter, even the ones that wish us ills. Our desire and relentless campaign for equality, equity and friendships are extended to all creatures. This is neither a fight between white and black nor for revenge, but a struggle against racial injustice. We must never lose sight of these points.

For the Africans and those of black heritage, we spend most of our lifetime working, collaborating and partnering with people and organisations who often never see us as equals. We live and die in communities and countries that like our talent, strength, wealth, culture, work and intellect but never wanted us and our physical presence in the room. We are only expected to exist within a vacuum of servitude, gratefulness and obedience; never challenging for recognition and honour. If we dare to dream and stray outside the box, we get sanctioned and branded a troublemaker.

The death of George Floyd (regardless of the life he lived before) should repulse our collective sense of humanity. Nobody, not even an animal should die as he did in a civilised society.

That is why all people of good conscience and moral decency must unite in condemnation and join hands with the Black community in solidarity. We need allies, those willing to stand with us. And, if we cannot count on friends, neighbours, representatives and our membership with organisations at a moment like this, then what are they good for?

Our quest is simple, a fight for equity because we do not want to suffocate anymore.

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