It’s year since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin sparked global outrage and masses of people taking to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chauvin has now been convicted of murder and is awaiting sentencing, but that doesn’t mean the fight against racial inequality is over.
With several more high profile cases of unarmed black people killed by police in the US this year and the racist online abuse of footballers making headlines recently, it’s clear there’s still a long way to go.
Political activist Angela Davis wrote: “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” If you’re looking for ways to educate yourself or become a better ally, try these powerful books and movies.
1. Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy
In her latest book, activist and author Rachel Ricketts sets out a blueprint for how to become anti-racist. Recognising that it won’t (and shouldn’t) be easy, the racial justice educator offers readers practical advice as well as ‘secular spiritual’ exercises such as meditation and journaling to help them identify harmful behaviours and heal from past experiences.
2. Just Mercy
Starring Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx, this moving legal drama is based on the memoir of lawyer Bryan Stevenson. In 1989, Stevenson helped death row inmate Walter McMillian – a black man who was convicted of killing a white woman based on questionable evidence – appeal his sentence. Praised for highlighting real life injustice through powerful dramatic performances, the film, released in 2019, garnered numerous awards and nominations.
3. How To Be An Antiracist
American academic and author Ibram X Kendi wrote this prescient book back in 2019 before the Black Lives Matter movement had really taken off. In it, he recounts experiences of racism throughout his life and puts them in a wider context, arguing that being anti-racist isn’t simply a choice you can make and then forget about. It requires a continual effort to ensure your actions and words follow your intention.
4. If Beale Street Could Talk
Following the huge success of award-winning Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins chose to adapt a novel by James Baldwin, an author known for tackling themes of racial injustice. If Beale Street Could Talk is a romantic drama starring Regina King as a woman who attempts to prove the innocence of her lover after he is wrongly charged with the rape of a white woman. King won the best supporting actress Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance as part of an impressive ensemble cast.
5. Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement Forgot
Mikki Kendall’s collection of essays puts the modern feminist movement under the microscope, arguing that the fight for gender equality has, in many ways, neglected women of colour. Urging readers to check their privilege, Kendall tackles intersectionality in an intelligent and thought-provoking way.