It has been a few weeks now since that day, May 25, when George Floyd, lost his life on a street in Minneapolis, after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. And during this time, there has been much unrest around the world, with thousands of people coming together to protest the tragic, violent and senseless death of this unarmed black man and the many that came before him; a coming together to protest systemic racism, police brutality, and years upon years of racial injustice.
Six years ago, in 2014, a movement to end police violence, Black Lives Matter, was born in response to the killing of another black man, Michael Brown, by a white police officer. At the time, many people around the world showed support for the movement, but many brands did not, finding it too controversial and ultimately giving in to their fears of alienating customers. This time, six years later, every brand seems to be clamouring to show their support. It’s difficult not to be a little suspicious that these gestures are little more than thinly veiled attempts to appear on the right side of history, especially when, this time around, they have more to lose by staying silent. Of course, some brands are getting it right. Ben & Jerry’s deserves mention here, for their support in 2016, when it was not fashionable, and for their continued and unwavering support now.
Support of anti-racism should not be a PR trend to make your brand appear diverse if it wasn’t before, and if you, as a brand (or individual) participated in #blackouttuesday and don’t want your involvement in the cause to end there, then here are a few things you can do to educate yourself to have a better understanding of things. Our aim is not to call you out, but to inspire, for “Shaming someone into action creates acting. Inspiring someone into action creates change.” (Neil Strauss)