At Brookes Union, we stand in solidarity with George Floyd and the countless other black lives that have been lost at the hands of police brutality. We understand that the events that have unfolded over the last week are part of a wider issue that has been impacting Black people and people of colour for generations: racism.
We unite together with people in the US and across the globe calling for accountability and justice. We cannot be liberated until we have fully dismantled all systemic oppressions, whether based on race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, religion or culture. Black Lives Matter.
In light of the Black Lives Matters protests in the US, we’ve seen a rise in the number of Black students and students of colour coming forward with their own experiences of racism at Brookes. Brookes Union takes these experiences extremely seriously, and is committed to fighting racism, discrimination, and prejudice in all forms. Diversity and inclusion should not just be a buzzword for the University and we will prioritise making sure this is the case.
Whilst we work with the University to ensure that individual racist behaviour is dealt with appropriately, we recognise that Universities are not spaces of neutrality and can often reproduce the racism of broader society. We must take action and hold accountable individuals who are complicit in reproducing racism. We must be vocal and not stay silent.
To our Black students we want to say: We stand in solidarity with your struggle, and we pledge to continue to work to eradicate injustice and inequality. Whether through tackling the BAME attainment gap, or fighting to diversity the curriculum, we will amplify your voices, and work hard to make sure you are safe, and respected at Brookes.
To our white and non-Black students we want to say: Educate yourself on the issue of racism, acknowledge your privilege, and use your resources to help fight for change.
Here are ways that you can help:-
Education is a social good, but our institutions are shaped by their histories, which means that students of colour face discrimination – sometimes invisibly – as a matter of course. While the University is aware that it has a responsibility to create equitable learning spaces, the experts on understanding racism at University are – of course – students of colour. Brookes Union wants to help amplify the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic students, which is why we are starting the Brookes Black Students’ Campaign.
We want Black students to come together under the Brookes Black Students’ Campaign, to work together to make change happen. Whether it's tackling microaggressions, putting pressure on the University to ensure their reporting procedures are robust and fit for purpose, working to diversity the curriculum, increasing Union services or increasing funding for culturally sensitive care in the Wellbeing service. We also want to tackle the intersections of oppression that students of colour face. Many will have experienced the intersections of racialised sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism on top of the prejudice that they face as people of colour. There’s a lot of work that needs doing – and we can only do it together.
If you are interested in getting involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and our officers will get in touch. It is vital that students of colour lead the way in ensuring that our campus is safe, inclusive, and anti-racist.
We want to encourage anyone who has been a victim of racist or other discriminatory behaviour to speak up and report it. The Report and Support tool allows you to report incidents of harassment, assault, abuse or bullying of any kind to the University. You can report incidents anonymously if you wish, and everything you submit will be kept confidential. If you need wellbeing support in light of recent events, you can reach out to the University Wellbeing Service or contact them by email: email@example.com.