Today's post for the #BeTheRipple blog series is a stirring piece from Raf Uzar.
Raf and I have never met in person, but we have known each other for almost two years in a professional capacity. We first crossed paths when I was Raf's Tutor, delivering qualifications online, and we have remained in touch ever since.
Raf's parents were immigrants and his father was born on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kampala, Uganda. His father's family were displaced persons following the ravages of WWII. His Polish mother (whose family was ejected from their ancestral home by the Soviets) was visiting her aunt and war hero uncle who fought in the Battle of Britain. She met and fell in love with Raf's father and decided to stay in the UK. Adversity, love, otherness. These key words set the tone for today's post.
You can see more about Raf's professional background in his LinkedIn profile: Here and you can find him on Twitter as @rafaluzar.
The #BeTheRipple movement is not only an opportunity to speak up and educate against bullying and discrimination, but it is also a chance to be positive about diversity and otherness. 'Difference' should always be celebrated, never castigated.
Over to Raf:
I Can't Breathe
This is bigger than all of us, however, only all of us together can overcome it. What happened to George Floyd is not only criminal it's morally sickening. Protests around the US are spreading like wildfire as the fallout from the murder of George Floyd is seeing fear turn into shock and then morph into boiling rage.
I am enraged and shocked but I am also fearful that in the year 2020 - a year that still sounds futuristic to me - my kids are living and growing up in a world where rampant institutionalised racism still holds strong.
I've seen and felt discrimination all my life. I've been discriminated against, mocked and victimised for being different on countless occasions. It creates a burning rage inside you at the sense of injustice surrounding you. If that rage isn't quenched then it continues to burn inside, it colours everything you do and scorches the people around you.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Love can only grow when there is understanding. In turn, understanding can only flourish when there is education. If you are desperate for a better world, if you are fighting for change, if you are really committed to breaking this cycle, then it's only through education that this can be achieved.
Education is not only about what we do in our schools. It's about what we do in our workplaces and in our homes. We can succeed if we implement and execute codes of conduct in all three domains. Teachers, leaders, parents. All onboard.
Of course, the home is often the most difficult place to do this, but codes of conduct do exist, and what modern and inclusive workplaces are doing can be an example to both our schools and our homes. The philosophy of diversity and inclusion often found in positive workplaces is grounded in such codes of conduct which is grounded in understanding and compassion.
Nonviolence means an ocean of compassion. It means shedding from us every trace of ill will for others. It does not mean abjectness or timidity, or fleeing in fear. It means, on the contrary, firmness of mind and courage, a resolute spirit.
This means standing up for our friends, standing up for our colleagues, standing up for strangers. It also means standing up against inequality, standing up against racism, but most importantly standing up against those who discriminate.
Every single person can and needs to make their voice heard. A simple means of standing up for people around us begins with each and every one of us. A simple code of conduct is all it takes: look around you --> speak up --> stop injustice.
Millions around the United States are hoping that George Floyd's death will not be in vain. Millions around the world are hoping that we can make a change. Let's be that change.
I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow. And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow. This place is cruel, no where could be much colder. If we don't change, the world will soon be over.
Thank you so much to Raf for sharing this emotive piece, it gives us a call to action to ensure that our workplaces, homes and educational establishments are free from discrimination, unkindness and injustice of any kind. Remember to: look around you --> speak up --> stop injustice.
Thank you once again to Raf for contributing this piece, a reminder that it takes a commitment from every one of us to #BeTheRipple that will join with others and become a wave of kindness. A wave of kindness that can change the world.
If you would like to submit a blog for this series, please send your work via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you tomorrow for the next instalment!
#Kindness #BeTheRippleBlogs #BeKind #racism #workplace #bullying #BLM #BlackLivesMatter
You can find PDFs of all blog pieces: