The year 2020 has brought with it unimaginable changes and feelings of being far apart from each other, while at the same time, more connected.
The pandemic has forced us inside our homes, unable to be in physical contact with friends and loved ones; but it has also provided us with new technological tools that erase the sense of distance in the same way the invention of the train must have felt.
While we were all locked down, we got the news of George Floyd’s death and its terrible circumstances. Moreover, we got a video that showed us what happened; and for 8 minutes and 46 seconds we all felt the air leaving our lungs. Maybe it was the close relationship between that feeling and the fear of a virus that attacks our respiratory system; or maybe it was that, because our lives were less busy, we had more time to actually think about the implications of this horrible incident.
Whatever the reason, this time a very significant number of people felt affected by it and decided to spring into action.
Protests and demonstrations went on for a whole month, from major cities to small towns and new groups of activists and allies in the fight against racism were formed.
Reactions to this awareness Spring saw a spike in hate crime and racist graffiti, stickers and writing on the wall.
Meanwhile, during lockdown, young Black men were stopped and searched at a disproportionate rate (over 20,000 times in London - the equivalent of 1 in 4 young Black men).
This is the context in which we find ourselves celebrating this year’s Black History Month.
And the knowledge that comes from this celebration matches the thirst for self-education and deepening of understanding from an increasing number of people.
This is why this year, this 33-year-old celebration is even more relevant and crucial if we want to affect significant change.