BLACK lives matter. A simple phrase which really should not have to be said, but one which deserves repeating.

The outcry from THAT video – of African-American man George Floyd screaming “I can’t breathe” while a white police officer kneels on his neck – has reverberated around the world, prompting renewed calls for justice and equality.

In every one of America’s 50 states, protests have erupted. In England, demonstrators toppled a statue to former Bristol slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it in the harbour.

And right here, at Glasgow Green, thousands of people gathered in support of the campaign for equal rights for all creeds and colours.

My conversation with Florence Joseph – the young Helensburgh woman who has, along with her three siblings, written an open letter and started a petition to the Scottish Government demanding better education on racism in schools – left me both inspired and saddened.

READ MORE: 'We were victims of racism while growing up in Helensburgh – now Scotland must rethink its attitude to race'

Despite admitting that she doesn’t feel her mixed-race identity has hampered her educational or employment opportunities, Florence did share several sickening instances of discrimination, simply because of the colour of her, or her relatives’, skin.

With a white mum and a black dad, Florence said hers was one of the few mixed-race families at her primary school, and most of her early experiences of racism came from within a school setting.

In a Facebook post responding to the events across the pond, Florence said she used to join in with jokes, on occasion, made by her friends about her race because she felt uncomfortable at the thought of being branded ‘sensitive’ if she didn’t.

She also said she was hesitant to comment publicly on the current situation as she has “seen this cycle multiple times” in her life, and she is even more disheartened by the fact that “two openly racist men are leading two of the biggest countries of the world and nothing has changed”.

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: Scotland has no room for complacency on racism

One statement which has stuck with me, though, was her explanation for submitting that open letter and launching the petition - which has now collected more than 6,000 signatures. “This time it feels different,” she told me.

Having studied history at university, learning all about the Meiji restoration in Japan, the horrors of the Rwandan genocide and the Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, my knowledge of my own country’s atrocities is regrettably not as sound as it perhaps should be.

The worst chapters of the British Empire and our ancestors’ involvement in the slave trade have come to the fore of the nation’s consciousness once again.

And it is not before time that we all wake up to the reality of racism on our doorstep and try to cleanse this stain on society, starting from the schools up.

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