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No Time For Apathy

The unlawful and incredibly tragic murder of George Floyd, a victim of police brutality, has provoked outrage from many as the frustrations at the forces of racism reached fever-pitch, with protests and riots taking place both nationwide and internationally.

These riots and protests show the extent to which people are frustrated by the recent events of Floyd’s murder and the systemic racism that has allowed people like him to become its victims. Protestors are willing to risk their lives and contract illness to stand up against a disease that is far more sinister and a danger to society than COVID-19 – racism. This is a time to stand up and be counted, not to be discouraged from action by quotes of nonviolence and undermined by people that say riots and activism don’t work, who would rather you turn a blind eye to the situation as they do.

In recent years, it has felt like people were almost desensitised to stories of racially-aggravated violence, as they had become so common. Annoyingly, however, this sympathy rarely translated into action. There would often be ripples of scattered social media posts and then everything went back to normal till the next tragedy. This time felt different. There was still social media coverage but it wasn’t from a handful of friends but from the overwhelmingly diverse number of people – ranging from religious and community leaders, to musicians and Hollywood actors. The latter of these particularly surprised me as celebrities (and specifically white celebrities) usually stray from issues related to race as it is considered too ‘political’/ ‘controversial’, shorthand for being ‘bad for their image’ as they expected to not rock the boat and uphold the status quo.

It was also interesting to note the changing in narratives as I saw far less Martin Luther King quotes posted on the whole, that are usually used by people to justify inaction and dis-empower people. Let’s not pretend as these people would have us believe, that if we adhered to the acts of non-violence like MLK, that the systems of oppression that are in motion would eventually take mercy and dismantle themselves. After all, he was still assassinated despite being a peaceful activist and hated by those that opposed his mission. By encouraging people to be non-violent is to an extent, encouraging apathy so that the oppressors don’t feel threatened by the resistance they face for their actions. Apathy ensures the future of these systems as they diminish any backlash for their existence.

It is our responsibility to keep the flames of this fire lit by Floyd’s death raging in our activism. Take action. Read, research, write, lobby, protest, donate, post, argue and make sure your voice is heard.

Originally published on Roar News