City, University of London Students’ Union stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the incredible activists who are currently protesting across the world in the fight against police brutality, racial inequality and racism.
We are witnessing a phenomenal response to the murder and brutalisation of black people across the world, and the recent killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police force in Minneapolis, Minnesota has called thousands of people from all walks of life onto the streets to exercise their freedoms to resist and protest. Police brutality and state sanctioned violence have battered our communities for far too long.
We must recognise that stating Black Lives Matter does not, in any way shape or form, insinuate the demise of non-black people, all life is sacred. However, we must centre around this cause, Black Lives Matter, for the livelihood and wellbeing of black people who have suffered disproportionately at the hands of state sanctioned violence.
Moreover, the Black Lives Matter movement is not unique to North America. The movement is worldwide and has been growing exponentially in the United Kingdom, we are not free of our own intolerance in this country and we must acknowledge the role our institutions have played and will most likely continue to play in the injustices unfolding before us.
The most recent injustice comes from the complete lack of care from the authorities for Belly Mujinga’s death, who was assaulted by an individual who could have infected her with COVID-19 whilst she was doing her job as a key worker on our public transport services. She was deprived of PPE and was refused an audience when she highlighted her vulnerability to the virus due to her underlying respiratory condition.
The reality and gravity of this centuries old issue is highlighted in government data, physical recordings and the social memory of millions of people. From Grenfell to Windrush to Yarl’s wood. We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of our fellow human beings.
In the words of Angela Davis ‘It is not enough to be not racist, you must be actively anti-racist’.
More work needs to be done in our own Universities to challenge systemic, institutional and structural racism. We need more diversity in our faculties with ample recognition of Black academics and scholarly work. We also need more funding to support the mental health of thousands of young black people and non-black people of colour as they face the realities of British society in its many forms. We are calling upon lawmakers and politicians at the local and national level to fight for much needed policy change which will enable us to bring equity to the aforementioned issues.
Silence is violence.
We’ve put some links down below for us all to follow and start doing whatever we can to support the cause and to bring an end to the dehumanisation of our people. For those looking to attend protests in memory of George Floyd and thousands who came before him, please look to the 6th link for guidance on how to conduct yourself safely and appropriately, we must be selfless in all of our actions and maintain our own safety and wellbeing as well as that of others.
We, the Students’ Union, are committed to supporting our Black, BAME and non-BAME students through these difficult times. Please reach out to us for any support in organising around the cause for racial justice, or simply for a chat on the following email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further reading & support:
- Sign the petition calling for justice for George Floyd - https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd?utm_source=brand_us&utm_medium=media
- Sign the petition calling for justice for Belly Mujinga - https://www.change.org/p/govia-thameslink-justice-for-belly-mujinga-justiceforbellymujinga?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_22128388_en-GB%3Av1&recruited_by_id=2b2b0700-a1c9-11ea-b32e-29e86ebe33c3&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial
- Donate and support the Stephen Lawrence charitable trust in their fight against injustice and in ensuring that the lesson’s from Stephen’s murder are acted upon - https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/
- And please, check out the Black Lives Matter Syllabus put together by Frank Leon Roberts so that we can make ourselves aware of the injustices faced by black people in the 21st century - http://www.blacklivesmattersyllabus.com/fall2016/
- How to protest safely against racism during a pandemic - https://www.dazeddigital.com/politics/article/49423/1/how-to-protest-safely-against-racism-during-coronavirus-pandemic
- And finally, Our amazing colleagues at SOAS Students’ Union have put together the following resource pack and have been kind enough to allow us to share it out - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GXUjuY4_4zDzNmf2_TKtv_VoN2mdjLoEK1XbqwWgk_s/edit?usp=sharing
Signed and unconditionally backed by the entirety of the Students’ Union:
- Saqlain Riaz, Rania Salim, Tuna Kunt – Student Sabbatical Officers (Signed on behalf of the Student Union Executive Officer Team)
- Philip Gilks, Chief Executive (Signed on behalf of the Students’ Union Staff Team)
- Shaima Dallali and Ruqaiyah Javaid (Incoming Student Sabbatical Officers 2020-2021)