It’s been almost 3 weeks since the world watched George Floyd’s precious life be taken away. It’s been almost 3 weeks since, and stated also by his daughter, that George Floyd changed the world.
I’ve been taking the last couple of weeks to truly reflect – to reflect on my own upbringing as a South Asian woman of an immigrant family and how I can be an ally for the Black community. And upon my reflection, I came across two thoughts that never crossed my mind in the past:
1) Even as a person of colour, I too have privilege and;
2) As much as the discussion begins with our youth, it’s not too late to educate our elderly
Even as a person of colour, I too have privilege.
“I’m unarmed, and I have nothing that will hurt you.”
Don’t wear a hoodie.
Don’t talk back to cops.
Tell the cops your exact actions before acting.
Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, then I am deeply sorry that you’ve had to either teach your children and/or had to learn from your parents on how to deal with the police. When I watched this powerful video, I couldn’t familiarize myself with it. And that’s because my parents never echoed these phrases to me. And this was when, upon my reflection, I realized I too have privilege. I have privilege because my parents never had a discussion with me about the police. I have privilege because when I was stopped by a police officer, I was thinking of ways to sweet talk myself out of a speeding ticket as opposed to feeling fear about how the police officer could hurt me.
As much as the discussion begins with our youth, it’s not too late to educate our elderly.
There could be certain ideologies that our grandparents and parents may have instilled that we don’t agree with. And I truly believe it’s our job to educate our elderly on the meaning of systemic racism and how our Black community has been oppressed for hundreds of years. For many of us, our grandparents and/or parents are likely immigrants and simply may not have been educated on the history. During the past couple of weeks, my family and I decided to watch some of the brilliant work created by Ava DuVernay: 13th and When They See Us (both available on Netflix). Although our families may be aware of the inequality, the injustice and the police brutality that our Black community faces on a daily basis, they may not truly understand where it all stems from and why the system is built the way it is. 13th, for this reason, was immensely eye-opening. As much as it’s important to teach our youth about equality, it’s just as important to teach our elderly on the history of why this injustice exists in the first place. It’s important to educate ourselves as well. And this for me, is a step forward in becoming an ally – being informed and being educated.
I’m a wedding and event planner. Why am I writing this blog post you may ask? It’s simple. We can’t be silent. No matter your title and no matter your background. We have to take it upon ourselves to solve the inequality and injustices for our Black community. And because I am a wedding and event planner, the events industry can definitely improve and it starts with us. With that said, I’ve made a list of very talented Black-owned wedding businesses that I know of, worked with or have come across here in Toronto:
Floral & Decor
Cakes & Desserts
Hair & Makeup
Let’s Be the Change is the name of this blog post. You may ask how we can begin the change? You can begin by reflecting. You can begin by educating yourself. You can begin by talking. Don’t be silent. You can begin by educating others. You can begin by signing petitions, providing donations, safely protesting, showing activism and calling out the injustices. You can begin by calling or messaging your friends in the Black community and asking them how they are doing. Below are a few resources you can begin the change with here in Toronto:
As we’ve seen online through social culture, the year 2020 should not be ‘canceled’. Instead, this year has given us the opportunity to sit, reflect and educate with nothing but time on our hands. The time for self-reflection, education and change is most important right now. There will be a time where our children and grandchildren will study the events that took place this year and ask us what we did to move change forward. And I definitely want them to be proud of the actions I took.
Stay safe, stay healthy and let’s change the world.
Jyoti Saini | SJ Soirée