No doubt about it: 2020 has been the year for a lot of happenings — most of them pretty unsettling. However, in the wake of so much tragedy, there’s also been a massive uprising.
The greater public has been coming together to create the biggest social movement ever aimed at racial justice and equality for Black Americans.
It’s certainly taken a lot of pain and heartbreak to arrive at this moment. But sometimes, that’s how revolutions work. We need to look carefully at what’s happening in the world at this time in history in order to move forward. But we also need to examine the positive changes that are taking place, too.
There are so many wonderful things happening across the country that will undoubtedly help Black people living in the US to feel safer, more valued, and, hopefully, equal.
We aren’t there yet, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that good things are absolutely happening. On top of that, it doesn’t seem like the movement is slowing down anytime soon.
Here are seven positive changes toward racial justice and equality that have already happened in 2020:
1. We're seeing murals about justice pop up everywhere.
There have been so many beautiful murals painted all over the country. In cities where the lives of Black people like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery have been senselessly taken, images of their faces have been showing up on the sides of buildings. Art is incredibly important in times like this. Not only does it help those who were lost be remembered, it reminds us to keep fighting for justice. Murals with the words “Black Lives Matter” have also been painted in countless cities across the US.
2. Organizations are changing their names to be less racist.
Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of organizations and companies change their names to no longer be racist. However, some have held out until now. The Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, for example, said he’d never change the team name or logo. Now the team has actually started to lose huge sponsorships over the issue, and it’s going ahead with a name change at long last. It’s a big sign of the times that shows that racism at this level won’t be tolerated.
3. Brands are getting redesigns.
Likewise, some very big brands announced they’d be redesigning their logos and choosing new names. A big one that was recently announced is the popular brand Aunt Jemima, which many felt was long overdue for a makeover. Others include Uncle Ben’s and Cream of Wheat, with likely more to follow suit!
4. Racist monuments are being removed.
Whether by force or by order from state officials, many insensitive monuments have come down in recent weeks. Sometimes, they’ve been vandalized or toppled by protesters. Other times, officials have asked that they be removed instead. One of the biggest monuments to be ordered taken down is a statue of Robert E. Lee in Virginia. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced on June 4 that it will be soon removed. Many other states are taking similar actions.
We’re even seeing racist monuments be toppled in the UK. In Bristol, a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester just replaced a racist monument.
5. Chokeholds are being banned.
After the death of George Floyd, a massive debate began about the kinds of force sometimes used by police when making an arrest. Chokeholds seem to be used at an alarming rate on Black people specifically, and there have been several deaths as a result. New York state passed a law banning the tactic, and other states have said they will follow suit, as well.
6. Continuous protests have happened all over the globe.
In all 50 states, Black Lives Matter protests have been happening. But what’s really incredible about this movement is the energy behind it. People haven’t stopped talking about what’s at stake. It’s so powerful, it’s even transcended country lines. Protests for racial justice have been happening in other countries, too, which is such a stunning act of solidarity. The calls for equality and for peace have many people calling this the biggest social movement in history.
7. More people are willing to say "Black Lives Matter."
The statement “Black Lives Matter” has been around for years. But many people believed it to be controversial. Finally, it seems like with the most recent acts of violence against Black Americans, people are starting to wake up and realize that it shouldn’t be offensive to say those words. In fact, it’s a statement everyone should be able to stand behind. All lives can’t matter until Black lives do.
We’ve certainly made some huge strides this year, but we have a long way to go.