Sadly, George Floyd was not an isolated incident and yet this time was meant to be different as video footage of the murder went viral and sparked #BlackLivesMatter protests across the US. The anti-racism movement launched in 2012/13 by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors took on a dimension not seen since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And it goes even further: not only in the United States, but all over the world protestors were mobilized in reaction to George Floyd's murder - also in our country. In the Austrian capital Vienna, where only 2,000 demonstrators were expected, 50,000 showed up. Tens of thousands also took to the streets in Germany and several thousand in Switzerland. As a further consequence of the overwhelming mobilization, many projects, initiatives, petitions, social media channels, etc. were launched and already existing ones got support like they have never experienced before.
So are we supposed to be relieved now? Finally we are being listened to? Has it made a difference? Should we remember George Floyd with gratitude?
Just the writing down of this romanticized review makes me angry.
The recent reports of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Austria, Germany and Switzerland give an insight into the structural problems that persist to this day. In all three countries, there is a great lack of independent institutions working for equal treatment of vulnerable people. Existing institutions lack staff, money and legislative power. Both within civil society and at the political level, the degree of racist discourse is alarmingly high. Anti-Black Racism, Islamophobia, Antiziganism, right-wing extremism, and hostility toward asylum seekers and people with migration histories are pervasive. Police violence is a major problem in all three states. The institution is infiltrated by structural and institutional racism, and abuse of power, e.g., in the form of racial profiling, is commonplace
For many, the past year has certainly been a wake-up call in one way or another. Most of you reading this text right now have probably only begun to look deeply at racial discrimination and its origins in the last year, and by necessity. Because when you suddenly have to watch a 46-year-old man pleading for his mother while being deliberately, slowly, and brutally murdered by someone - someone you actually knew as a "friend and helper" - you hopefully start looking for answers. But that's not a good thing, it's perverse. Racism didn't start with George Floyd, nor did it end with him. And the last point in particular needs repeating: If we continue as we have been doing - even as in 2020 - there is no end in sight.
Not when the Austrian integration minister claims sexism is an imported problem. Not when the Die Linke party in Germany claims Anti-Semitism is an imported problem. Not when Switzerland introduces a ban on veiling. Not when the CDU/CSU Union blocks the Democracy Promotion Act. Not as long as European museums profit from colonial looted art. Not when racist attacks are ignored despite advance notice. Not when Fortress Europe, according to estimates, has at least 40555 human lives on its conscience since 1993 and in the same breath profiles itself as a human rights pioneer. ... The list goes on and on but the main point remains that racism will not be over until the lives of ALL Black, Indigenous and People of Color are treated with respect and dignity. Only when white supremacy comes to an end.
Text originally published by Re-Define Racism.