Letter to the Editor: June 4th

Dear Editors,

As a non-Black POC who passionately supports the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve struggled to find my place in advocacy. I want to uplift Black voices, spread awareness, and will write until no more words bubble in my chest and fight to be heard. In the midst of it all, I know I must consider my position and privilege in this revolution.

For those in a similar situation as me, there are a few key ideas which I think are imperative to understand before committing to the Black Lives Matter movement.

My experiences as a South Asian woman in Canada are not interchangeable with the experiences of the Black community in the United States, or even in my own nation.

I am able to speak about my lived experiences of racism, and understand how a discriminatory statement or event catalyzes inside my body. I know what it feels like to have my stomach drop, my throat close, and for tears to well up in my eyes despite being filled with anger. I know how it feels to be invalidated and gaslighted. For this reason, I can connect, on a visceral level, to the fundamental ideas behind the Black Lives Matter Movement.

However, my voice should not be at the forefront of the revolution­. In fact, it would be wrong and selfish for me to even suggest such a thing. There must be a strong and united voice from within the Black community, so that we, as allies, can support with fortitude and camaraderie. Simply put, we need to know our place. There have been great injustices committed towards our community, including systemic racism, verbal and violent abuse, and deep-rooted discrimination which we continuously combat and attempt to dismantle. But right now, this is not about us.

I struggle with these idea as I continue to write, repost threads on my Instagram story, and try to navigate Twitter. It’s a constant learning process filled with feelings of guilt and uncertainty, but I am committed to finding the balance between sharing my insights and prioritizing Black voices.

For students at Queen’s who want to support the movement, I would encourage you to actively follow and support clubs on campus whose voices need to be heard, especially the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS). Read literature and scholarly articles by Black writers. Cultivate an understanding on forms of racism that are different from your lived experiences. We cannot run from our racist history, and we cannot dispute our responsibility to self-educate in order to become anti-racist.

Advocacy, especially online, is difficult and often uncomfortable to navigate. I would argue that acknowledging our place as non-Black POC in the BLM movement is the first step to becoming self-aware allies prepared to contribute actively to a cause we care so deeply about.

Sincerely,

Alysha Mohamed

Arts ‘22

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