At this point there is nothing that I can say that has not been already said. Like many, I was struck with horror at the murder of George Floyd’s and was reminded of the horrific mistreatment of black people around the world.
This specific case caused me to take a break from social media to collect my own thoughts and speak to those whose opinions I value deeply.
For many black people in the UK it is a reminder of the hold that racism and white supremacy still have, and the trauma many have had to deal with.
This experience has forced to re analyse my view of the many institutions around me, what I had been taught in the past, and experiences which I had ordinarily brushed off.
Even though George Floyd was murdered in the United States, the truth is the UK is not innocent. Whether through the lack of acknowledgement of the horrors of colonialism, or the role of the UK in the transatlantic slave trade, or even the presence of racism on our campuses, and within schools today.
The truth is that more needs to be done.
If there is one thing, I can take from my time as a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust, is the importance of people educating themselves on the issues at hand whilst standing up for those who are targeted with hate and face injustice. Whilst we can post and raise awareness, what is important is that this leads to real actions and steps to fight racism, both institutionally and in our individual lives.
It means that when we are faced with bigotry and hate we do not stand quiet as this in itself only allows the perpetrators of hate to have their way. Furthermore, without our institutions taking real action to actively be anti-racist, the fight remains to create an environment that no longer praises or allow space for racism and white supremacy.
As a black person in the UK you are always forced to consider the role of race in the environment you are in, and this was not more true than when I started at University, initially I was almost put off because of the lack of black students within the student population even though I knew I would be getting an education from a place which would be of great value to me.
More needs to be done to make sure bright people of all races are able to get the opportunities which they rightly deserve, and without universities creating welcoming spaced for them thrive, bright individuals will be turned away as a result. Groups like the African Caribbean society have created a sense of community within what was a somewhat alien space, and without it I doubt I would have had as great an experience as I have at university.
As the ACS president for this coming year I look to foster the same sense of community within the black student population, whilst working with fellow students who are actively lobbying for change within the university itself. However, even with all this it is up to universities to do more to create a inclusive environment for students of different backgrounds, from the policies they have in place to deal with racism, to even their outreach approaches for reaching potential students.
Above all this is a time for solidarity and action. I encourage you to look within your own surroundings and stand up against racism in what ever form it might take. I encourage you to take these conversations inside the household and be educated on how racism and white supremacy still exist and are issues especially here within the UK.