SUBU Statement on racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter protests

We are deeply saddened by the killing of George Floyd, the most recent in a string of violence and injustice towards black civilians in the US. It is important not to look at this as an isolated event, but to recognise the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, among many more, all prominent in recent memory.

While George Floyd’s death spurred on this current uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, this is not just an American problem we can be complacent about from afar. It is a systematic issue that reaches across the Atlantic, including the UK, showcased through structural inequalities, aggression and anti-blackness directed towards Black communities.

As your Student Union, we will not only stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement but strive to make an impact, continuing to work towards challenging the racist and discriminatory practices that have become deeply rooted within Higher Education. We must critically observe and challenge the systemic ways in which black students are discriminated against, ignored, silenced and forgotten.

Black students are the most likely to drop-out of university than any other group due to their experiences, and without Universities reimagining themselves as inclusive institutions, the persistent racism in the HE sector will continue for years to come.

Black students deserve the same level of engagement from academics as their peers. Their curriculum should be diverse and presented by a diverse campus of academics, and this can’t happen while only 0.8% of UK-based Professors are Black.

 

Over the past two years SUBU has consistently and tirelessly worked to raise awareness of these issues and lobby for change.

  • We hosted over 30 events during Black History Month 2018 and 2019 bringing speakers, thinkers and activists on to campus for students to critically engage with, explore and learn about issues of race.
  • Our VP Education has led the ‘why is my curriculum white campaign?’ which started a campus wide discussion on decolonising the curriculum, we persevered with this despite an online backlash from people who are not ready or willing to engage in conversations about race and anti-racism.
  • Our ‘Table Talk’ series which was curated by students allowed a safe and open space in which to discuss issues of identity and race
  • Our VP Education worked with black students to review and scrutinise BUs equality and diversity policies, as part of his microagression campaign
  • We have held focus groups to research the experiences of black students on campus, centring their voices and elevating them.
  • We have funded the Black Students Campaign and its work, ensuring our work is student led.

 

We will continue to use our platform to empower students to fight for a more socially just world. There is plenty of work still to do and we are ready to do it.

The Black community cannot fight this battle alone. There is a complacency that exists embedded in the top tiers of universities across the country, and it must be challenged to abolish these inequalities. Until we all strive to achieve this, Higher Education lacks equality and is failing to dismantle the existing platform for microaggressions, racism and discrimination.

If you are in a position of privilege, we encourage you to fight for change. We know many of you are keen to find guidance on what you can do to be effective and active allies to the black community.

 

You can start this today in two ways:

Firstly, here is a link to a series of anti-racism resources where you can educate yourself on the issues: it contains articles to read, twitter accounts to follow, videos to watch, podcasts to subscribe to and books to buy.

Secondly, you can donate to the UK Black Lives Matter movement so they can continue the fantastic work they do.

 

We will also be promoting these organisations and sources through social media in the next few weeks and months.

If you are in need of support, if you would like to talk to someone or would like to set up a call of action and want to discuss this with others, we are here to support you and facilitate this space. You can contact us: SUBUDemocracy@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

Yours in solidarity,

Ade (President)

Lenrick (VP Education)

Joanna (VP Welfare)

Lea (VP Activities)

Abidemi (VP Community)