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Activism by Mariama Injai

 

The year of 2020 will be forever marked by having triggered a series of issues, which until now, had not been approached with the seriousness they always deserved. On one hand, a pandemic that crossed borders and continents and paralyzed us completely. On the other hand, simultaneously, international demonstrations, never seen before, have taken place against racial discrimination.

Suddenly, a lot of people that had never protest became activists and anti-racism fighters, or, at least, they stood up for something. Activism is, by definition, to defend something, but it is also a synonym for protests, manifestations or militancy. Activism is then a demand for justice, a demand for equality and equity, an appeal for dignity.

Internet globalisation caused changes in the digital world, facilitating the meeting and connexion of several ideas, and the sharing of similar experiences between different individuals. Consequently, these citizens are the same that today participate actively in discussions, becoming a source of informations, while at the same time being a source of references for the same discussions. They are also activists.

There is no right or wrong way to speak out about a cause, it is only necessary to believe that our action in the face of an injustice, and our presentation against something that we believe to be incorrect, can have positive effects especially if we act in community. Let's look at the events of this year: motivated by the death of George Floyd in the United States of America, the shocking video of his death brought a serious discussion on the theme of Racism and its major impacts on the black community worldwide. “I can’t breath”, were his last words and echoed in all of our hearts. As a community, we decided to act, we decided to demonstrate our discontent and felt the urgency to participate in demonstrations and protests! Militancies that once seemed to be a unilateral struggle, brought everyone together and brought about real changes in the conscience of many. White, black, men, women, children, came together, many, for the first time to shout “No justice, No peace” through the streets of the world.

Changes that were demanded for a long time started happening: brands, public entities, companies, through public pressure and awareness, positioned themselves for the first time and took measures, so that internal politics were changed in behalf of inclusion and diversity. By admitting mistakes perpetuated for years because of Structural Racism, companies with giant platforms as Google and Facebook, for exemple, started several initiatives to support black creatives and entrepreneurs. This is just one of the exemples that show the strength we have together, the force of a united community, as a change catalyst and how its practice can be empowering for several aspects of society.

My activism manifests through the project AFROMARY. This project started in the search for answers for a lot of questions regarding my identity, through the sharing of videos, giving space for discussions and sharing experiences. Later on, by researching black representativeness, giving voice and visibility to the several people and/or projects of this same community. I believe the path is still long to arrive to a more balanced society regarding social issues, and our initiatives and proactivity is determinant to bring change.

We are always activists when we position ourselves, when we manifest, whenever we try to give or create power in something we stand for, promoting actions and/or measures that originate transformative practices more inclusive, diverse and balanced so that we can all live well, together in society.

And you, are you an activist?

Mariama Injai

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