#Blacklivesmatter – thoughts on Racial Injustice from Coach Mentoring Ltd

Racial injustice — Black lives matterThe whole world has been rocked by the appalling murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His sad death has been the catalyst to unlock the world’s feelings about the cruelty, overt discrimination and racial injustice against black people. This is not just a US issue, which is why protests are taking place globally. Racism is abhorrent and although as an organisation we do not normally comment on world events, in this situation, as we did with the Covid-19 pandemic, we feel we must speak out to counteract the apathy and indifference that allows this intolerance and prejudice to exist.

Our view on Racial injustice

The team at Coach Mentoring Ltd is passionately against all discrimination, bias and hatred, including that based on people’s skin colour, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability or religion. We seek through our work to encourage diversity and inclusivity at every opportunity. To educate, challenge, influence and motivate people to learn and change where we observe ignorance, prejudice and bias.

This is a time to speak up and out. You can’t allow evil to happen, just because it doesn’t affect you personally. It finds its way back to you, or your friends or family somehow. I believe Martin Niemöller’s words in 1947 encapsulate this situation perfectly. Niemöller was a German Lutheran theologian who supported Hitler initially, but ended up in two concentration camps during WW2.

“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

So what next…

We need to confront the hard truths about our existence. Covid-19 has created an opportunity for many of us to re-evaluate the world we want to live in going forward. Racial injustice, climate change, mindless materialism, we want to rethink and recreate our society, impact on our planet and personal lives. I will leave you with the words of Dzung Vo.

Staying present and breathing, rather than shutting our eyes and ears to the pain of the world and pretending it is not happening, is the first step for us all on this journey.

i can’t breathe
said George Floyd
the knee of four hundred years of racism
on his neck

i can’t breathe
said the woman
with fear
in her eyes
her lungs attacked by coronavirus
as she was put onto the ventilator

i can’t breathe
said the nurse, exhausted
after a long shift
sweating under a hot surgical mask
and foggy goggles

i can’t breathe
said the young man
poisoned by a toxic drug supply
and generations of trauma and loss

i can’t breathe
said the one hundred thousand
dead americans
a nation
and a world
in mourning

i can’t breathe
said cities choked in smoke
from a planet on fire

breathe my dear
said the buddha of our time reminding us of the way
to love and healing and transformation

breathe my dear said the beloved community
and waking up together

breathe my dear
said mother earth
and let my oceans, mountains
and forests embrace you

right now
when it seems so hard just to breathe

right now
just breathe

Dzung X. Vo

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