Black Lives Matter

As you will probably have seen in the news or on social media over the last week, a black American named George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis last Monday. This case, and those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others, has ignited protests across the world over the consistent police brutality against black people.

Racism is a systemic, institutional issue, one that organisations such as Royal Holloway Students’ Union and the University need to take seriously. Whilst these protests are centred in America, the Black Lives Matter movement is not solely an American one. The same systematic racism the movement seeks to fight against is prevalent in our society in the UK also.

The 2011 London Riots started as a result of the police shooting and killing Mark Duggan. Countless other examples include the treatment of Grenfell survivors, the Windrush scandal, the treatment of the death of Belly Mujinga, and the arrest of Black Lives Matter protesters for breaching social distancing while those who flock to beaches face no similar consequence.

Universities, by nature of the institution, are complicit when it comes to racism, and we have a long way to go in ensuring that black students and staff (academic and faculty) are able to experience university safely, and in a way that best supports them and removes structural inequalities.

Over the last two years, the Students’ Union has been listening to black and ethnic minority students at Royal Holloway through our very first policy inquiry, to amplify your voices and to produce tangible actions that need to be undertaken in order to create an inclusive educational experience.

In January, we launched our first Student Voice Report detailing 25 recommendations under 10 different areas. This work is not over, we are continuing to lobby for and drive the recommendations in the report to create a more inclusive environment for black and ethnic minority students.

Student voice has always been at the heart of this project and will be at the heart of future initiatives as we continue implementing these recommendations over the next few years.

We will continue to work collectively with black students, societies, and staff to bring about change, amplify black voices, and carry out actively anti-racist work. While attitudes may be changing, it takes time to create cultural and institutional change. Tolerance is not a campaign; it is an institutionalised and applicable protocol. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and we promise to run that marathon with you.

We can all do something. For those of us who are not black, we need to support black students and staff (academic and faculty) now more than ever, we need to continually practice allyship, and we need to speak up and speak out. We recognise what is happening, we care, and we vow to take action.

You can take action in a number of ways; we have listed some petitions to sign, organisations to donate to, and resources for education below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, we would encourage you to continue to listen to black voices and educate yourself, and those around you.

All lives do not matter until black lives do.

Sign Petitions

Raise the Degree

Justice for George Floyd 1

Justice for George Floyd 2

Justice for George Floyd (Amnesty International)

#JusticeforFloyd (Color of Change)

Get the Officers Charged

Stand with Bre

Donate

If you are financially able to, you can donate:

To the victims

To the protestors

To charities and funds

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

R.I.P Belly Mujinga

Educate yourself

For resources related to the Black Lives Matter campaign and ways to support it head to here.

This Google Doc collation of anti-racism resources.

When They See Us by Ava Duvernay – available on Netflix

13th documentary by Ava Duvernay – available on Netflix

Books

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Protesting

If you are protesting, we strongly encourage you to read about your rights and how to protest safely here.

Support Services

We understand that this is a particularly difficult time for our black students and want to encourage you to access support if you need it.

The SU Advice Centre is taking appointments remotely. You can email them here.

The University’s Student Wellbeing services can be contacted here.

You can also access support services for black communities through The Black, African, and Asian Therapy Network.

For information on knowing your rights, visit the Liberty human rights website.

RHSU stands in solidarity with our black students, and protesters across the US and UK as we join the call to action of Black Lives Matter.