Our vow to be an ally
NEO Cremations stands at a unique point in the funeral industry and is exploring ways to fully immerse ourselves as an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement. To be an ally means more than saying you stand with members of the Black community, it means actively participating in society and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for staff and customers alike. In the large spectrum of society, the funeral industry is, to put it frankly, the last point of contact in our lives. Thus it is imperative for family members and even the deceased to know that they are in the hands of people who value their lives and can represent them meaningfully. To the wider funeral industry, NEO Cremations can, with active engagement with Black communities, positively inspire the necessary change needed in an industry notorious for its lack of diversity. This blog aims to look at recent events leading up to the global Black Lives Matter movement and lists meaningful and significant ways the funeral industry can support and champion Black lives.
George Floyd’s funeral, a world wide memorial
Thousands, if not millions, of people across the globe have paid their respects to George Floyd who was tragically murdered on May 25, 2020. His death shook the world and subsequently led to a mass antiracism movement with protests, memorials, and moments of silence held all over the world.
The memorial and funeral in the United States for George Floyd, live streamed on news channels, on the 4th June and 9th June respectively have showcased how the Black American community celebrates the life of a loved one. We saw that legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather financed George Floyd’s funeral to give him the goodbye he deserved.
It was poignant to have Rev. Al Sharpton deliver eulogies at both services and particularly have a Black reverend speak on the life of a fellow Black man; who understands the challenges that black people experience throughout their lives. In this we see how by simply having a Black reverend or priest lead the funerals of loved ones in the Black community, encourages more representation and with that a deeper sense of empathy.
Reverend Al Sharpton delivering an emotional eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral
Helping BAME senior citizens in England
A significant way that the funeral industry can actively encourage more diversity and inclusion and be a distinct ally, is by being a supporter of societal organisations that support senior citizens in England. The Pepper Pot Centre, for example, based in Kensington and Chelsea, works to provide a meaningful and comprehensive service to elders in the African and Caribbean community. Supporting the Pepper Pot Centre can be done through volunteering or making donations that help to provide a better quality of life for the elderly. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the centre has been able to support the elderly by providing lunch meals to members.
Another prominent organisation tailored to the care of senior African and Caribbean citizens is the Nubian Life Centre located in both Hammersmith and Fulham. This centre provides an array of day services for elders of the Afrian and Caribbean community to enjoy. They have positioned themselves as a specialist provider of care for those with critical health issues. To support this organisation, day volunteers, and volunteer painters are more than welcomed.
The Pepper Pot Centre and the Nubian Life Centre, are just two London based organisations. Many more exist and a few are listed below:
- Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation
- Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation
- Hibiscus Community Centre
- Elimhouse Community Association
It is important for the funeral industry to proactively support such organisations and become a champion of protecting the lives of senior African and Caribbean citizens. By partnering with, engaging and supporting these social organisations within the sector, NEO cremations and other industry leaders can help shape meaningful codes of conduct and best practices that improve service provision for members of the Black community.
Without donations and without public support of Black lives, the funeral industry will fail to be a champion against systemic racism and fail to be an active ally of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Now is the time for an industry player to show foresight and to be at the forefront of how this movement stretches across all levels of society.