Racial inequality – what can we do?

Posted by Nicky - -

Many of us posted black tiles on Tuesday for #blackouttuesday. It was our way of embracing the depth of feeling and breadth of outrage at the latest examples of racial injustice happening everywhere, and currently most notably in the United States with the death of the African-American man George Floyd. We share a mutual horror and disgust at his death after an office from the Minneapolis Police Department stood on his neck for more than 8 minutes. But what next?

What can we do?

Now, we must keep a hold of this collective outrage and channel it into something useful that will help combat systemic racism in our all societies globally. We need to challenge ourselves and our industry – every part of it – to identify racism, call it out, and end it. Such a call to action can feel overwhelming. But there really is something to be done by each and every one of us, and action helps.

Let’s make this the start of our commitment to educate ourselves. Knowledge and understanding is power – the energy source for action needed. Here is a starter list of action you can take, right now. Ensure your support for the movement against racism doesn’t fade with the passing of the black tiles this week.

Black Lives Matter#blacklivesmatter @blklivesmatter

What does the use of these hashtags mean? Well, the Black Lives Matter Foundation is a global organisation in the USA, UK and Canada which was founded in 2013 to ‘eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.’ Now they’ve come to the fore because of the American killing of George Floyd, but this is not a new organisation.  To discover more about the movement, you can visit www.blacklivesmattter.com  or follow them on social media. There is a lot of information – some in video format which is easier to engage with. Plus there are links to fund-raising, petitions and advice and information about many aspects of the work and struggles that need addressing.

You can also think about where to add your voice?

Petitions and lobbying

Consider what you believe and add your signature to the many petitions out there. Petitions really do work. In the UK, after 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from the government. After 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament. You may start your own and promote it online, but it’s worth joining existing petitions to help get the numbers up.

There is a petition on the change.org platform that specifically seeks justice for George Floyd: Click HERE: 

We also have on the same platform, a UK petition to have it made compulsory that working on Afro/textured hair be part of the Level 2 NVQ syllabus: Click HERE:

Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International are calling for the UK government to halt the sale and export of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields – all of which are used against protesters – to the US. You can write to your MP to demand the suspension of these exports. You can also write to demand that the UK takes as stand against police brutality and racism, use this email template to write to your MP here.

Stand Up to Racism has local groups organising socially distanced events in every town and city – ensuring that the communities they are fighting to defend are not further endangered by the virus. Find local events on the Stand Up To Racism Facebook pages

Together with MP Diane Abbott, Stand Up To Racism is campaigning for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate number of BAME deaths due to Covid 19. You can discover more about this and join by adding your voice.

Find your local MP at www.writetothem.com

Funding and donations

Funding is vital to many campaigns and to support the work of activists. If you’re not able but protest and attend gatherings yourself, perhaps you can donate to a cause you feel strongly about. Donate to charities and organisations you can support –

www.standuptoracism.org.uk/join-donate

www.Runnymedetrust.org is a registered charity and think tank that aims to challenge racism through research, debate and policy engagement • www.stephenlawrence.org.uk is creating a fairer society for us all especially young people • www.sariweb.org.uk is Stand Against Racism & Inequality and supports victims of hate crimes including racist attacks • www.kickitout.org Kick It Out uses football in order to promote equality and inclusivity • www.stophateuk.org offers a 24-hour help line to stop hate crime • Specifically you can donate to the Bail Project which provides funds to pay bail for those who have been arrested during the protests in America • To find out more click HERE

In the UK you can look at this on another platform called gofundme which is a hub of lawyers and legal advisors providing free advice and representation to UK Black Lives Matter activists:
To support, click HERE

Read up on the subject of racism

There are myriad books that will help you understand better the history and how and why racism is buried so deeply into society. For accessible reading we recommend these in particular:

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

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

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Diversify by June Sarpong

Becoming by Michelle Obama

and for children; Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller

In Tribu-te magazine we promoted the story of hairdresser Subrina Kidd and photographer Susan Dale who collaborated on a shoot entitled Sisters. Susan has created the Haluhalo platform for sharing stories celebrating mixed heritage and it’s both fascinating, informative and moving. Visit www.haluhalo.org

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