Silence is as deadly as violence

Silence is as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say no more

A reflection from Lois Chingandu, our director of evidence and influence, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The death of George Floyd in the US should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. As a black woman, who is mother to a black son, I am pained and feel a huge weight just thinking of how George Floyd lost his life in such a cruel and inhuman way, simply because of the colour of his skin.

As a senior member of the Frontline AIDS leadership team, my colleagues and I are outraged, angry and disappointed at this devaluation of a human life. We believe that the lives of all human beings are of equal value. That is the reason we strive to advance human rights wherever we work.

Frontline AIDS stands in solidarity with all those who are calling for an end to all forms of discrimination based on race, sexual diversity, gender, age, and social status. We strongly believe that all people deserve to enjoy their human rights and to be treated with equality.

That is the reason we come to work every day, to fulfil our organisational value that everyone, everywhere, must enjoy their human rights.

Power in speaking out

I am inspired by the words of Jimmy Carter when he said, “Silence is as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say no more.” For anyone wondering today if they should speak out or not, just remember dictators and abusers survive when good people do not speak out.

On a personal level I have challenged myself why I find it easy to call out the human rights abuses taking place in smaller countries of less power and yet I am hesitant to do the same when it happens in a powerful country like the United States. I know I am not alone in this uncertainty. But we must not be silent. Because Black Lives Matter everywhere.

In our quest to end inequality and injustices; and our aspiration to ensure full access to human rights for the marginalised and the minority groups, we must transcend boundaries and borders. Because we are human – we care about other people and how they are treated. George Floyd and others before him did not deserve to die.

Today is that moment to speak out.