Text by Regina Eyite
MAY 31st 2020

2020 has been a year of revelation. With the rise of COVID-19 and the recent protests of George Floyd’s murder, many are realising that this system is flawed and benefits a minority. This capitalist system has been built on the backs of the enslaved and the colonised and has been working ever since. The protests in America have been criticised for the disruption and specifically the looting that has occurred. However, the Black Lives Matter campaign was created in 2013, and in the past 7 years alone, nothing has changed.  So, how else can we as a community change a system that has refused to listen? Make businesses lose money. 

There are so many examples of businesses changing their mind and acting on the consumer’s opinion. One of the most relevant examples, that affected another marginalised community, is how Chick-Fil-A, an American fast food company, stopped donating to anti-lgbt organisations such as The Salvation Army. This happened after many people protested outside a shopping centre in Reading, where the first Chick-Fil-A in the UK would have been. Does this show that Chick-Fil-A are pro-lgbt+? Not necessarily.

 The controversy around Chick-Fil-A started with their Chief Executive, Dan Cathy, who was publicly against same-sex marriage in 2012 (BBC News, 2019). Dan Cathy said he backed the "biblical definition of a family" and that those who supported gay marriage were "arrogant" (BBC News, 2012). He has not retracted his statement but regrets being public about his view. This is evidence that despite his views and Christian faith, the Chick-Fil-A protests in the UK made them realise how their association can prevent them from making more money. But it can be argued that the difference between the Chick-Fil-A protests and the occurring protests in America is that Chick-Fil-A’s was peaceful. 

Like what has been said previously, “peaceful” is not enough. There is always conversation about how black people should deal and combat racism throughout history. Black people have protested peacefully, black people have used their platforms to speak up, and the result? Colin Kaepernick being blacklisted in the NFA, Gabrielle Union losing her job on America’s Got Talent and many more black lives lost at the hands of the police with no justice being served. This is the last resort.

 So many multi-billionaire companies get away with tax havens and breaks whilst African Americans are more likely to be in poverty. Considering that their ancestors contributed to the country’s wealth, looting is a way of taking back what is rightfully theirs. Also, the loss of money from occasions like the protests would make any business think twice about the way they treat their black consumers. It is bringing power back to the majority and not the minority. 

As a black woman, I am writing to everyone, especially my non-black people, to do what they can to help. Spread awareness, sign petitions, donate money and go to protests if their household is not at risk of COVID-19. You can also use your expertise and your businesses to help the cause. It can be disheartening when you feel like you are not doing enough but your voice and awareness matters. The early silence of many celebrities and big brands that we look up to reminds us that race is not the only thing that has been created to divide us; class has as well. 

USE YOUR VOICE.  Follow the link below for ways you can help -