Katie Cavanna: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor

It has to be about dismantling systemic racism from the inside

It has to be about dismantling systemic racism from the inside - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

People keep saying it: everything has changed.

As the days spent in our homes blur together and become indistinguishable, outside in the world huge shifts in consciousness are happening.

Alongside the forthcoming aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, society is changing. You can feel it - the shift, people are united, and people are no longer going to put up with the 'status quo'.

I have never known anything like this shift in my lifetime; it is monumental and if we get this shift right, life will surely change for the better.

Back in 2016, I worked for Devon County Council and Babcock LDP, within their Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service.

As an advisory teacher covering South Devon, my role included supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils plus their families, as well as lead on race equality across the county.

I look back on that time with genuine love and gratitude.

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I learnt more in the two years I was there, than probably all of my 37 years on this earth.

Over the last two weeks, the topic of racism has been, rightly so, pushed to the forefront of everyone's consciousness.

It's been interesting to watch the response of many in our community to events in America.

In our community of Torbay, some may feel they are far removed from the global tensions.

But, we're not. And to think we are, is part of the problem.

Part of my role with EMTAS was to monitor and respond to racist incidents reported in Devon.

Reading through those reports every week, I am not ashamed to admit, I despaired for humanity at times.

As Nelson Mandela said: 'No-one is born hating another.'

So, as a society, we all have to look at ourselves.

It has to be about dismantling systemic racism from the inside.

Something really feels like it is changing years on.

People are challenging each other, engaging in dialogue and, most importantly, educating themselves. We have to learn from the past.

Yes, it might make you feel uncomfortable, but it's 2020.

While a blacked-out square on your social media profile picture may reflect a form of solidarity, it's now about action.

The worldwide uprising following the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has left many people wondering what they can do to show solidarity and turn their opposition to racism into action.

Reading a book isn't going to solve racism, educating yourself about the ideology and practice of anti-racism has got to be a step in the right direction.

Social media has created a platform for sharing, collaboration and progress.

People are using their time to read, research and critique.

The younger generations have learnt from their predecessors and their pushing for action.

The mass movement for genuine change, from many of the younger generation, has proved that apathetic is no longer a word that can be used to describe them.

The apathy of the young is a perennial theme of the old.

Every day, across the media, parents and grandparents can be heard fretting about the kids; bemoaning their drop in political participation, worrying about excessive screen time and social-media distractions, lamenting their alleged self-absorption.

The truth about this next generation is a lot more hopeful than that.

While they're understandably daunted by problems as complicated as climate change, terrorism, and income inequality, polls and statistics by the bucketload suggest that today's much-doubted young will be as engaged with the issues of the day as any generation before them, and, interestingly may be even better at making positive change.

Generation Z, has already shown evidence of an active social conscience, for example, in Afghan teenager Malala Yousafzai, who at age 18 became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Be part of this positive change, your voice counts.