Momentum for #BLM

Sheila Fahy

Somewhere along the way, the idea that white people are superior to others has taken root in society, like a stubborn weed in the garden. It’s everywhere and people are so used to seeing it, they don’t appreciate that it’s choking the goodness out of our world.

These words are not mine, but I echo them here. They belong to @CephasWilliams, and come from a letter to his newly born son, Zion.

I came across Cephas back in 2019 when I walked into my workplace one October morning and was stopped in my tracks by 56 black men in hoodies. Face-to-face with the photo exhibition, I was mortified. As a white privileged woman, the first thing I saw was the colour of their skin. Up close and personal, it was a very different story. Every single one of these real 56 black men had successful careers, which is generally the opposite of what society has been conditioned to expect of a black man. The shame and disappointment I experienced back then motivated me to write a blog about this type of bias, just as Letter to Zion has got me blogging again.

Cephas William’s latest campaign leverages off this moment in time where everyone can see the inequality and disadvantage that is business as usual for black individuals. But seeing is not enough. Cephas views the response to #BLM from leaders and organisations as “knee jerk… void of substance, generic and as a result comes across as inauthentic”. Nothing he has seen so far “speaks to the vision or the destiny of the black community”. He has launched the Black British Network, which initially will be a body which will give a united voice to black British professionals and the wider black community. They are currently looking for allies who are not afraid to have difficult conversations that lead to real systemic change.

I would encourage everyone to read Letter to Zion. Now is the time to be brave so that in a couple of decades, when Zion is 21, the black narrative is not the same as it has been for centuries.

Comments published on Employment Talk do not necessarily reflect the views of Allen & Overy.

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