In the past few months, events in the United States have amplified the brutal and unjust treatment of Black citizens at the hands of the police and displayed the US police force’s continuing institutionalised racism against the country’s Black community. The anguish caused by the brutal and senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and several others are not contained to the United States and have shaken people across the world. It would be remiss to not say the names of Belly Mujinga, Sheku Bayoh, Shukri Abdi, and countless more Black Britons that have lost their lives to racism in our country. The discrimination, racism and police brutality experienced by Black Americans is experienced by Black people everywhere, including the UK.
Black people around the world are struggling to cope with the pain caused by yet another tragedy to their community. The continued and consistent oppression and marginalisation of the Black community by those that should be protecting us adds to the betrayal and lack of trust they feel. As a university community, we all have a part to play to address these injustices. From those in senior management to students on the ground, we all have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Black community right now as we mobilise together to fight for justice, equality and peace in the world.
As an SU, we have a responsibility to push for more progress on tackling racism in wider society, the university and within our own organisation. Over the past few years, the SU has implemented mandatory race equity training for its staff, increased diversity within our officer teams and led the way on tackling the BAME attainment gap at the university. Despite the progress we have made, we still have much more to do.
Through our networks, our Officer team and the wider student body, we will work hard to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to challenging and dismantling systems of racism at every level. We will continue to push for a culture change at the university, where race is not approached tokenistically, but thoroughly and meaningfully. This means pushing for decolonisation to go beyond the curriculum. This means working to ensure our democratic structures work to truly champion the voices of the most marginalised. This means continuing to challenge the university to do better in ensuring students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are supported to have a dignified university experience. We will seek to achieve this by listening and engaging with black students across the university, working to seek solutions.
We must all be proactively anti-racist. This means going beyond performative acts of solidarity and engaging with the local, national and global movements who are challenging the fundamentally racist structures and institutions of our society, and championing and empowering activists to do the same.
To Black students and the Black community: there is support that you can access to help you deal with whatever you need now or in the future. Please do not hesitate to reach out for support or to report any instances of racism you have experienced.
Nilaari offers counselling to students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds
Report and Support is the University’s reporting tool for discrimination and hate crime
There are many ways you can educate yourself on this issue, stand in solidarity or get actively involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. Below are some resources and links to do so:
Epigram have released an article detailing ways you can get involved: https://epigram.org.uk/2020/06/02/get-involved-in-black-lives-matter/
BAME Student Webinar: Support and Self-Care, Thursday 25 June, 4-5pm
Bristol Medical School BAME Student Working Group - email@example.com
BME Medics Bristol - firstname.lastname@example.org