The worst thing people can do is ignore Black Lives Matter
A view from Fayola Douglas

The worst thing people can do is ignore Black Lives Matter

We have entered a pivotal moment in history.

The past few weeks I have felt a combination of anger, sorrow and hope. A hope that a combination of events, including the death of George Floyd, has encouraged those affected by racism to speak out.

At this moment the worst thing that people can do is try to ignore what is happening. Talking about racial injustice isn’t always comfortable but it is the comfort of the familiar that leads to the stagnation of progress needed across all sectors.

We have entered a pivotal moment in history, with a stand for racial equality being fought alongside the coronavirus pandemic.

One thing is for sure when we emerge from this time – it will no longer be enough to remain impartial or to "not be a racist". You need to be anti-racist. This requires listening, education and steps for change. We can no longer prioritise the longing for normality above the need for systematic change.

As a black woman, I have never been in a room that doesn’t have a black person in it, as my presence there automatically means a black person is occupying some space. But there are still many rooms that decisions are made in that do not include black people, or when in that space they are not empowered enough to speak out and be heard.

Now is a time to check in with your colleagues and assess what is going on around you. How is the environment you have created in your workplaces welcoming black people? All too often there have been improvements in the hiring of ethnic minorities when it comes to entry-level positions, but changes still need to be made at the top.

So I echo the words of other black people talking to the advertising industry: review your company policies, compile your diversity data and then truthfully ask yourself if you are fit to serve an enlightened population. Then make some changes, as this battle to stamp out racism cannot be won by the black community acting alone.

Black lives matter, they have always mattered, but now is the time that all people really need to understand that fact.

Fayola Douglas is a senior reporter at Campaign