COPA90 Statement: Black Lives Matter

Just enough is nowhere near good enough.

The last few days have hit me harder than I expected. 

Not just because the video footage of George Floyd being murdered under the knee of a police officer is so sickening, or because it evokes memories of Breonna Taylor shot in her own bed, Tamir Rice murdered in a park aged only 12 and Eric Garner uttering those same words “I can’t breathe” as his life too was choked from him.

The depth of my reaction this time is caused by a profound realisation that I am part of a system that has awarded me privilege based on nothing other than the colour of my skin, and that moreover I have not done enough to help, which is an abuse of that same privilege. 

Speaking up for other people’s struggles isn’t something I’ve done enough of. I haven’t read, listened or educated myself enough or even asked friends, colleagues or family members of colour what that struggle has meant for them. I have never been racially profiled, arrested by police because I look like someone else and I haven’t had to explain to my children why some people believe our race to be inferior. 

I have had the option to dip in and out of this issue. I have had the luxury of taking an interest when it suits, and I have been able to get away with doing just enough.  

For this I’m sorry, because doing just enough is nowhere near good enough and people like me doing just enough is part of the reason the world is where it is today.

If this counts for me then it counts for COPA90. We are majority white, majority privileged and male – we therefore need to change. We cannot be bystanders in the dangerous, insidious and man-made pandemic that is racism. It’s not about a hashtag, a passing moment or a black box, it’s about committing ourselves fully and collectively to fighting racism, standing up to racists and supporting those who are victims of this systemized brand of hate.

So, this week we have formed a working group looking at what we do today, tomorrow and long term. 

Under the pillars of WATCH, READ, DONATE, THINK & FOLLOW the idea is to educate ourselves and fans, enable ease of donation to causes fighting for equality and against racial injustice, both now and into the future, and create opportunities within COPA90 for those who deserve a greater platform and recognition for their work. This list is not complete or exhaustive but it’s a starting point and a promise of further sustained action. Thanks to all of you who have pledged donations. We will be matching and adding to your donations and contacting the chosen causes on Friday.

To repeat though, today is an admission that we haven’t done enough and are acting late.

But act we must - one and all.

From today we educate ourselves and others, we fight racial injustice through action and speak for those who are voiceless or have become tired of the struggle.

Sending my best

Tom Thirlwall, COPA90 CEO