BFP: Please introduce yourself?
TF: My name is Tomisin. I’m a Nigerian-American High School Junior residing in Maryland, USA. I serve in leadership capacities in my school & community, manage a lacrosse team and write poetry and short stories.
I also enjoy fashion and activism, and love to speak up about issues like these.
BFP: What is your personal take on the actions surrounding Black Lives Matter triggered by the death of George Floyd?
TF: I think black people everywhere are tired. They are tired of the police being able to murder innocent black individuals. They are tired of the system that does nothing about it. They are tired of the media silence surrounding these issues. I know the BlackLivesMatter movement has been engaging through many facets in the past week. While there have been protests to get the attention of the media and public officials, the movement has also been using social media as a tool to advocate and educate. I think it is really beautiful to see the movement come this far and gain a lot of traction.
BFP: What do you think business decision makers should do in light of this?
TF: I believe that business decision makers should have open conversations about racism in the workplace. There are a lot of things that occur which go unseen or are often ignored. It takes the people that benefit from the system to call it out and incite change. I also think that businesses can do more to support the people of colour they employ, whether it be groups or spaces where they can feel comfortable, or people they can talk to who will take them seriously when reporting an act of racism against them.
BFP: What statistics or key insights would you like to share?
TF: CNBC stated that 1,000 reported Americans were shot by the police in 2019. But 24% of those Americans were black, which may not seem like much, but it really is when you realize that black people only make up around 13% of the American population. When you compare everything to how many black people there actually are in the US, you will begin to see the discrepancies resulting from a problem in the police force.
BFP: What change would you like to see?
TF: I would like to see the American police force dismantled. For too long, police officers have been protected by the law in cases of police brutality. I want to see thorough regulations across the board. Each police officer must have a degree of some sort, go through extensive training (including race-based/racial scenarios), and must be annually evaluated by a psychologist. They should also be penalised if they cause a situation similar to George Floyd’s.
Apart from the police system, I want to see a change in society. A change in how society views black people, and how we are portrayed. It is because we have been characterised as violent, stupid, “thuggish”, and lazy that these behaviours continue. I think a lot of this change can begin with education, and how racism is taught to our youth.
Personally, I’ve had tough conversations with my friends of different backgrounds. I think it is important to have these conversations about race, because it is the only way that we can see things from all perspectives. These conversations are hard, but change never comes easy, and I encourage everyone reading this to do everything they can to make sure they are educated on these topics.