Time to take a stand
Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, and a global movement against racial injustice, is an interesting time to launch a new business. It’s a unique situation, and an opportunity to step forward with something to say. Even established companies and institutions are often foregoing their usual ads and are getting personal on digital and social media. All of us can do that now. All you need is a Facebook account, and an opinion. And some, like high-school junior Darnella Frazier, had more: courage, determination and a phone that recorded the world’s now infamous 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
So rather than trying to sell T-shirts at the moment, I would like to take this opportunity, like many others who have a platform from which to speak, however small, to simply add my voice to the now global #blacklivesmatter movement, call for police reform, and an end to systemic racism. It’s about time!
This new business lives largely in the world of music; an industry that has had its challenges as well when it comes to racial inequality. When I think of musicians I know, and the music they create, I see a colour-blindness that makes me proud. But the reality is that it wasn’t very long ago that if you were a white person in a band with black musicians, some agents would simply tell you they would not be able to find you gigs. It’s a reminder that we should not be in denial, but be ever vigilant about this kind of injustice. It exists in almost every community.
That being said, when things become normal and boring again, and people start buying T-shirts, let’s not forget this moment – this chance to be a part of history, and the responsibility to sustain these critical human rights that so many are working hard right now to make a reality, on behalf of people of colour in America, but also here in Canada and around the world.
A T-shirt, a guitar, or a person for that matter, all have no power, until used to say something.