A personal message from Kenny regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Dear Skinners’ Academy,
This has been a very serious and eye-opening time. The death of Mr George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25th has sparked the need for change not just in the United States but all over the world.
The black community in the UK has felt the impact of yet another black life being taken too soon. Although the rate of police brutality or racism in the UK may not seem to be on par with the US, the UK is not at all innocent in these matters. I know that 9/10 black boys reading this have been stopped and searched by the police just for being black, I know that almost every black person reading this has been followed by security in the shops because the colour of our skin seems to be a trigger warning, I know that almost every black pupil and teacher in the Academy has felt that they have been treated differently than their white counterparts with a much more aggressive approach being taken towards black people everywhere, in schools, at work and in our everyday lives.
Despite all the inequalities that we have to deal with, it is important that we do not feel beaten down or defeated. Keep protesting, keep signing petitions and keep being unapologetically black because every day that you live in your skin without apology or shame is activism. In just a few weeks of protesting and petitioning, laws have been changed, higher charges have been assigned to the police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd, cases have been reopened and statues of slave traders and those who have profited from the slave trade have been taken down. We need to continue to fight for the type of lives that we want to live.
Therefore, in recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is imperative that every black pupil and teacher in our school recognise certain truths:
Black is beautiful
Being Black is a blessing although it may not always feel that way
The colour of your skin doesn’t determine your worth
Your life is important
Lastly, I would like to say that anyone who feels threatened or disagrees with the phrase Black lives matter and instead feel that “All lives matter” is more inclusive simply doesn’t understand it, because racism and discrimination is not inclusive. Being treated like less of a human being because you’re black is not inclusive, being feared and scared at the same time is not in any way inclusive. We are not saying that Black lives matter at the expense of anyone else’s life or more than anyone else’s life, we’re simply saying that our lives matter too.
Kenny Shomuyiwa, Year 12 (Head Girl)