When Lola Oladunjoye was racially profiled in Paris on a rare trip outside during lockdown, she was made to feel aware of her undeniable Blackness more keenly than ever. Here, she writes about how she channelled that disquiet into positive action.
On 17 March, France mandated an eight-week lockdown with a 48-hour warning. I was to be confined, alone, in my studio apartment in Paris for the duration. Armed police patrolled the streets. One could only leave home for a permitted reason and with a signed declaration (an attestation) in hand. The only signs of life to be found outside were the groups of homeless men who are also an intrinsic part of the local community. Against this sombre backdrop, observing the mandate by staying indoors was easy to do. For the first few weeks, I hunkered down, and transitioned seamlessly to working from home. I tried to stay hopeful.