It was the moment in 2020 that brought the world to tears. A moment that brought into the open, conversations that were hitherto had behind closed doors. We watched a man die under the knee of a police officer and we were saddened, appalled, and outraged. Many miles from Minnesota many of us in the global ethnic majority saw in that image, the suffocating effect of systemic racism.
The fact that we heaved a sigh of relief when the verdict on April 20th, 2021 declared the police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of a murder that was captured by the teenager Darnella Frazier is in itself an indictment on an oppressive system that has not always abided by the principles of natural justice. This was after all the first time in history that a law enforcement officer in the state of Minnesota had ever been tried by a jury and found wanting. More significant (for us in the UK) was the discourse that followed this tragedy. This was our moment to share the reality of their daily lived experiences. Many spoke up, others doubtful that the black squares posted and acknowledgement that Black Lives Matter were coming from an honest place, remained reticent. They feared that it was little more than performative messaging designed to chime with the times.
But like most events, the real change was happening on the shop floor, ordinary people speaking to colleagues and supporting their causes. A strong sense of allyship differentiated this moment from campaigns that had gone before and that desire has continued.
So one year on from May 25th, 2020, where are we in the engineering sector?
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