I’ve been posting a lot on social media, but realised it would be useful to have all these things together in one post. Here is what I’ve been watching, reading and doing to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve learnt a lot about our human history, and the struggles people are still facing today, which (I won’t lie) I had been very sheltered from being a white person living in rural Devon:
- I started following more people on Instagram who were talking a lot about these issues. I can recommend @Bodyposipanda, @loharris_art and @glographics in particular – I’ve been really enjoying their art and learning a lot from their content.
- I donated to Black Lives Matter UK, and began to learn there are a lot of issues that I just didn’t know about that actively affect many lives in my own country.
- I read Diversify by June Sarpong, a book I picked up from work the first day I was allowed back into the building. I love Sarpong’s writing, she makes this important topic really accessible. She talks about race but also other marginalised groups, so it was also interesting to read about Islamophobia, and the manipulation of the working class man by politicians.
- I watched 13th on Netflix, on June Sarpong’s recommendation. Her book features ‘action points’, which are small tasks that she recommends the reader does to consolidate the reading. 13th was painful to watch, but I recommend that everyone does.
- I engaged in (sometimes heated) debates about these topics with friends and family about what was happening in the news, which was a great way of opening up discussion and providing learning experiences for all those involved.
- I applied to be a judge for the 500 Words competition – this was open only to teachers and librarians. The theme this year was Black Lives Matter, and I thought it would be a special opportunity to use my skills and background to hear what our children are thinking about this movement. I marked some beautiful entries (and some quite funny ones – this was a kids competition after all), but woah, these kids really are thinking seriously and deeply about these issues.
- I started reading more fiction books by POC, after noticing I’d been reading the same genres and authors for a while now. For example, Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo is such a tragic story of marriage, motherhood and betrayal, set in Nigeria. It was such a stark contrast to the fiction I usually read, and it was incredible how unstable governments and local robberies were undercurrents of the entire plot, yet just something the characters had to learn to live with in their culture. I’ll be reading some Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie next, I think!
Let me know if you have any other good recommendations for speakers, artists, activists, writers, etc, who I should be following. I’m listening.