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Yubo Generation

How to fight for Racial Justice this Black History Month and Beyond

3 minutes read

- Written by Yubo Team

In honor of October being Black History Month in the UK, Yubo teamed up with activist Kaia Allen-Beven to host a special racial justice Live Session! Kaia is the organiser of Brighton’s Black Lives Matter protest. She is an inspiring advocate for police reform, social justice, and antiracism. During the interactive Q&A, she answered participants' questions and shared how Gen Z can leverage social media to fight for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Who is Kaia Allen-Beven? 

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Kaia organized a Black Lives Matter chapter in her hometown of Brighton, England. By leveraging the power and speed of social media, Kaia and her fellow organizers brought together 10,000 people to march for BLM in just a few weeks. Before the live, she said that she was excited to talk about how Gen Z can use social media to organize, inform, and connect to create social change like never before. 

What is UK Black History Month? 

Black history month was first celebrated in the UK in October of 1987 in recognition of the contributions of African, Asian, and Caribbean people to the UK. Today, Black History Month is amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement's powerful strides towards eradicating white supremacy and systemic racism. Systemic racism and white supremacy manifest themselves in police brutality, disproportionate COVID-19 deaths in communities of color, and persisting inequities in education, housing, access to jobs, and pay. Black History Month is an opportunity to honor the triumphs and contributions of black people in the UK. But, just as importantly, it is a time to reflect on how racism still persists in the UK and around the world, and to commit to continuing to fight for racial equality through the rest of the year. 

What Went Down on the Live

During the Live, Kaia, her friend Mahalia, Murphy and two US activists talked about their own experience with blackness, racism, and what it means to be an activist and an ally. She asked questions that challenged the participants and created a space for vulnerability, sharing, and growth.  

Kaia’s sincerity and insight inspired participants to be equally as open about their own experiences of racism. Participants shared stories of unequal treatment from teachers, insensitive jokes, and their family members experiences of racial profiling and state violence. To all of these, Kaia listened, empathized, and connected the individual's stories to why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important.  

The panel also received questions from white participants who were unsure how to be part of the solution. They asked questions about how to help and defend conversations like this one, how to educate themselves and others about white privilege, and how to have conversations with people that disagree with BLM. The panel listened to all of their questions and gave concrete advice on how anyone can be a part of the movement for racial justice. 

What does it mean to be young and an activist? 

One question Kaia asked was “what is an activist” and whether participants identified themselves as an activist. Mahalia said that while she is active in the Black Lives Matter movement, she does not identify as an activist. She said that an activist is someone who “works every day to try and change the narrative about what is going on”. In the age of social media, activism can often be mistaken as just reposting an infographic on Instagram. Participants talked about how just posting is often performative because true activism requires action. 

Throughout the Live, Kaia repeatedly emphasized the importance of continuing BLM efforts beyond Black History Month, because “if we only focus on the well-publicized events, we will never achieve change” To Kaia, the everyday opportunities to stand up to ignorance and practice antiracism are just as important as attending protests and rallies. Kaia believes that when we practice antiracism every day, our cities and our countries become more anti-racist as a result. And that this is how day by day, person by person, change happens.

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