I come from a country that prides itself on being inclusive. New Zealand is a melting pot of culture – but it is a country that has it’s own systemic problems of racism. We were the first in the world to give women the vote but equally there are inherent problems in the way that Maori and minorities have been treated over the generations.
The black lives matter movement has lit a spark to embers that dwell in my heart.
I’ve always known and cared deeply about the issues of racism, homophobia, ableism, mental health, animal welfare and environmental concerns – but I haven’t always been brave enough to shout them from the rooftops and all of my humble channels often enough, because let’s be honest, I exist in a white privileged world where it doesn’t often affect my everyday life. And that’s not good enough.
I’ve talked about sexism, shared causes close to my heart, made helping charities part of my long term career goals. I’ve marched, lobbyied, donated, organised annual fundraisers, challenged family – but it’s not enough. It’s only a drop in the ocean. [I honestly don’t say this to show off, but to make a point. It’s not enough. At all.]
I posted a black square on Instagram during the groundswell of international fervour, because I wanted to stand up and show my support for this movement. I wanted to amplify this message in my own small way, because if it could reach more people, then change could have a chance to reach critical mass.
But, I hear you ask ‘what can I do’?
Educate yourself, use your voice, challenge your audience, make a difference. Keep doing that. It doesn’t stop.
I’m keeping my black square on Instagram because it’s a reminder to do better. To make more of a difference. To amplify more. To be anti-racist. Anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, encourage understanding around mental health… it is a challenge, a red flag on my Instagram grid.
It’s not just good enough to cop out and say ‘oh, I can’t make a difference’, post a few paltry bits and then switch back to showing off your life online. That’s 100% performative. Use your platform. If you make just one person think in a different way, it’s a good beginning. Back this up with action that you then use your platform to share – it’s not performative, it’s inspiring.
We have a choice.