Did you get this informative and moving Black Lives Matter flyer through your door recently? Britain, including Lewes, is still scarred by its history of slavery. When I became involved with Extinction Rebellion (XR) last year, it was because decades of more moderate environmental action had not achieved much. Climate emissions were still rising.
Similarly, I have been actively anti-racist, and hoped that things were gradually improving. However, it is evident from deaths in custody, continuing unfairness in work and education, and now the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities, that little has really changed.
If you aren’t white, you have to be wary of unpleasant or thoughtless actions all the time, and even tiny experiences mount up. I have been aware of small incidents in Lewes where I felt I hadn’t done enough. There is much that each of us does not know about each other’s experience. It is easy for a largely white community not to notice, and to be unaware that others are feeling excluded.
Transition Town Lewes could certainly work to be more inclusive. In order to achieve the changes needed to deal with the climate and ecological crisis, everyone has to be able to take part in building a better future. It’s no good if climate action is seen as something that only a certain type of person does.
We certainly need a range of people championing the practical work we do, and to make more people feel it’s something in which they can get involved. TTL has a wealth of experience and knowledge that others could take as their starting point but many people may not be aware of the resources we can offer.
How we tackle that requires further discussion. In the meantime, I strongly recommend that people read the flyer and some of its sources, and act on it in the best way they can. The Black Lives Matter movement, and especially this flyer, have been a revelation to me – similar to encountering XR – creating a step-change in how I think and hopefully how I act in the future.
Would you like to get together to see how TTL could be more inclusive and support the Black Lives Matter movement? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org