The recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have brought the long-standing outrage at police brutality, and the ongoing work of the black lives matter movement to the forefront of national attention once more. We are deeply saddened to see the ongoing violence and racism towards the black community, and urge you all to recognise and support the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, and other anti-racist grassroots movements, in both the US and the UK.
Their deaths are many in a long line of black people being killed at the hands of police brutality or negligence. They are the catalyst for these protests, but the pain and anger these protests demonstrate is always there. In situations of injustice, to stay silent is to choose the side of the oppressor, so we want to say loudly and clearly that we stand in solidarity with and support of the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement. Their work is essential to truly liberate the black community from the injustices they experience. You can find out more and get involved with their vital work here. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
The issue of racism and police brutality is not something that is only happening in the United States, but is a real occurrence and threat to the black community in the UK too. Cases such as that of Sean Rigg, have demonstrated the need for greater action to be taken to address racism and police brutality by law enforcement in the UK. We support wholeheartedly the protests occuring across the UK today. However, we understand that due to coronavirus and exams, it's not easy for everyone to take part in protesting on the streets. We have included information on how you can get involved in protests and online at the bottom of this statement.
Racism is a systemic issue that also affects students in their education. Racist hate crime and racial discrimination continue to be a prevalent issue across UK universities, and one that needs to be tackled and addressed much more urgently than it currently is.
As your union, we believe it is our duty to call out racism wherever it occurs and stand in solidarity with those fighting to tackle systemic racism. We also expect all members of the Birkbeck community, academics, staff and students to oppose racism in all its forms.
We pledge to be an ally to all those who experience racism, now and always.
Birkbeck Students’ Union Officers and staff members
Sign the Change.org Justice for George Floyd petition:
Free support services
http://www.beh-mht.nhs.uk/patients-and-carers/black-and-ethnic-minority-support.htm for the black, minority ethnic community.
Check out the Say Your Mind podcast for a black woman living in London's take on her experiences living in the UK and the current situation (strong language used!)
Get involved and keep up to date with the Black Lives Matter movement: