BHM Essay Competition - Shortlisted Essays!

Shortlisted Essay - 2020: A year of reflection, resilience and reform

On 25th May 2020, the video of George Floyd’s killing drew fresh attention to

the violence that Black people disproportionately suffer at the hands of the

police, igniting a cascade of protests across the world, and bringing the Black

Lives Matter movement back to the fore. For many in the Black community,

this was a solitary example of the countless Black lives lost at the hands of

the police every year. However, the egregious nature of the killing obliged

those outside of the Black community to take notice, opening the door for a

renewed discussion about the systemic racism and unconscious biases that

remain pervasive in many Western institutions to this day.

The death of George Floyd came almost four months after another public

health emergency of international concern was declared by the World Health

Organisation. The COVID-19 pandemic, which, to date, has claimed over one

million lives worldwide, served to illuminate another significant public health

concern: the extent of racial disparities in healthcare outcomes, which have

also been longstanding in many Western nations. Soon after the virus took

hold in the UK, it became apparent that Black people were dying at a much

higher rate than their White counterparts. This finding was made explicit in

Public Health England’s inquiry into disparities in the risk and outcomes of

COVID-19, 1 in which Black men in the UK were found to be 4.2 times more

likely to die from COVID-19 than White men, a finding that is likely

attributable, at least in part, to the healthcare inequities that afflict many Black

people in our society. Indeed, many of the NHS healthcare workers who died

from the virus were also Black men and women, further highlighting the

ubiquitous nature of these injustices. Even in their place of work, Black people