Paul McCartney Reminisces on Beatles Refusing to Play for Segregated Audience in 1964
"We all need to work together to overcome racism in any form," Paul McCartney wrote, noting that "saying nothing is not an option"
Fighting against systemic racism is not something you can do alone.
"As we continue to see the protests and demonstrations across the world, I know many of us want to know just what we can be doing to help. None of us have all the answers and there is no quick fix but we need change," the music legend, 77, wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. "We all need to work together to overcome racism in any form. We need to learn more, listen more, talk more, educate ourselves and, above all, take action."
McCartney went on to reveal that during a trip to the United States in 1964, the Beatles had been scheduled to play a segregated show, which they refused to do.
"In 1964 The Beatles were due to play Jacksonville in the US and we found out that it was going to be to a segregated audience. It felt wrong. We said 'We're not doing that!' and the concert we did do was to their first non-segregated audience," he continued. "We then made sure this was in our contract. To us it seemed like common sense."
Noting how little has changed in the world since then, McCartney reiterated that silence is an impediment to justice.
"I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with the countless others that came before," he wrote.
"All of us here support and stand alongside all those who are protesting and raising their voices at this time. I want justice for George Floyd’s family, I want justice for all those who have died and suffered," he added. "Saying nothing is not an option."
McCartney went on to share a list of organizations that are already fighting for racial justice:
During a memorial on Thursday, Floyd's brother reflected on the outpouring of support his family has received.
"That's amazing to me that he touched so many people's hearts, cause he's been touching our hearts," Philonise Floyd remarked during the Minneapolis service.
"I'm just staying as strong as I can, 'cause I need to get it out," he added. "Everybody wants justice for George. He's going to get it."
So far, criminal charges have been brought against all four officers present during the killing of Floyd on May 25. Additionally, Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of chokeholds by police and require officers to report colleagues who use them.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.