As the CoSS Wellbeing team, we are here to support students that have been directly or indirectly affected by what has been going on in the world, when a black man named George Floyd was tragically killed in the US city of Minneapolis by a police officer.
Since the 25th May there have been increased protests for #Blacklivesmatter, and over Social Media such as #Blackouttuesday. We stand in solidarity with everyone protesting for equality and civil rights.
Please read the following if you want to know how to get involved…
Read up on why people are protesting. Learn about Racial Inequality.
Make sure to prioritise black people’s voices and not speak over anyone with actual, lived experience of the issues at hand. Keep listening and learning.
Spend your time in lockdown further evaluating what you know, and what your own individual perceptions might be. It is our job to educate ourselves.
1) Have your voice heard.
Talk to your friends and family about these issues and amplify the voices of those who have lived experiences. There are lots of other ways you can have your voice heard, information about these are circulating online.
2) Learn by watching videos/listening to others share their stories.
We encourage those of us that are white to seek out information ourselves rather than forcing our black peers to direct us, as this might be emotionally exhausting and triggering to discuss repeatedly. There are some powerful messages out there online.
3) Donate to causes that need funding.
Racism is an economic problem. There are lots of places that you could donate to.
4) Use Social Media to pro-actively support.
Online campaigns have been one of the most effective ways for people to show support, and raise awareness of the anti-racist movement. However, when engaging in social media, before posting check whether your postings are useful to the Black Lives Matter movement.
5) Read up about the Anti-Racist Struggle.
There are lots of reading lists out there on the internet which will help you learn about racism and privilege.
The Universities Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) conduct world class research on racism and race inequality in education. More information and articles can be found here.
6) Sign A Petition
7) Report Hate Crime
If you see or experience any racial discrimination we encourage you to report it.
8) Have a read of the great resources and information below to find out even more:
- https://www.facebook.com/bemaonline/ - You can see what your student Black & Ethnic Minorities’ Association are doing to take action.
- https://rl.talis.com/3/bham/lists/7E77B882-26B0-F9FE-1ADC-372671F92D8F.html - List of books/ articles on BAME inclusion and Anti-racism in Higher Education.
- https://www.guildofstudents.com/news/article/website/Officer-Team-Statement-Black-Lives-Matter/ - The Guild of Students’ Officers have released a statement: Black Lives Matter.
If you have been affected, or just want someone to talk to - We want to remind you that our wellbeing services are accessible to all during lockdown, and you can contact us via email below:
BBS Wellbeing: firstname.lastname@example.org
BBS Distance Learning Wellbeing: email@example.com
Education Wellbeing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Government Wellbeing: email@example.com
MBA Wellbeing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Policy Wellbeing: email@example.com
Further support can be accessed from the following:
Pause - https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/student/coronavirus/Pause-restricted-campus-opening.aspx - They are currently offering telephone chats to support you with your mental health.
Sandwell African Caribbean mental health foundation https://www.sacmhf.co.uk/ - They support the local African and Caribbean community who are affected by mental ill health. You can also donate to support their Foundation.
Black African and Asian Therapeutic Network https://www.baatn.org.uk/ - Home of the largest community of Counsellors and psychotherapists of Black African, Asian, and Caribbean Heritage in the UK.
CoSS Wellbeing Team