Artwork: A mural in Minneapolis by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez
First, we must pay our respects to George Floyd, who lost his life as result of police brutality and systemic racism in America. This incident has highlighted the continued violence, injustice and racism that the black community experience, not just in America but also here in the UK. Black lives are lost every year as a result of societal negligence, ill-support and disrespect for black people. Although this injustice has recently come to light again through the media, it is something that black people have had to live with and fight every day. Will Smith made the point that ‘Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.’ Racism happens every day whether it be individual, systemic, or institutional. There are many names that come to mind who have been killed because of the colour of their skin at the hands of police brutality. However, it is also important to remember that there will be countless names that we will never know because those incidents were not filmed.
According to Nathan Rutstein"Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance". So, if you are somewhat ignorant about this issue, it is your duty to educate yourself on the experiences of black people and take a stand to ensuring we all rightly experience equality and justice.
- Learn more about the history of racial prejudice in society.
- Use your own time, online resources, books, podcasts and documentaries.
- Understand your own privilege and how you can use it to support those who are oppressed.
- Sign petitions that are positively influential to the progress of the movement.
Racism of any kind, corrupts and corrodes the wellbeing of society. Black people should not be left alone to face this struggle. It is also important to acknowledge that racism in the UK is not covert or a thing of the past, as the media have implied on numerous occasions. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the privilege that white people hold in society and take notice of the racism that is present within the systems and institutions that surround us in daily life. It is important to extend our help and understand the inequalities. Speaking out against it and fighting for the rights of black and brown students is our duty, both in Plymouth and across the UK.
As your Students' Union, we will stand together to support the movement -Black Lives Matter. We are committed to campaigning for black students and staff. Working closely with the University of Plymouth and community partners, we will amplify the voices of our black student representatives. We pledge to listen to our black students about the problems they face and act towards the changes they want to see.
Tilda Fraser (UPSU President)
Bitty Walter Inyang (VP Wellbeing and Diversity)
Martins Akhemigbeze (Postgraduate Students’ Part Time Officer)
Simran Tak (BAME Part Time Officer)
Oluwatimilehin Ajibode (International Student Part Time Officer)
“As an individual, it’s important to note that racism has been an issue for a long time, so many protests and campaigns have been run in the past, but to no avail, racism is still a major issue to date. What could be the reason for this? Is it that people are not educated on the matter? Are people getting misinformed about the black community? Or is it really how the world is meant to be? A lot of questions to be asked, but I feel it is important that if we are to fight this, we all need to stand as one. We need to be educated and impacted with the necessary knowledge to fight this. Educating ourselves properly must be the first step to make this change.
A very important quote to remember is that ‘racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting filmed’.
We all have our parts to play in this situation, every day.
The SU stands with black students and black people round the world, and we oppose every form of racism. We are here for our students and committed to fighting any form of injustice not just now but continuously.”
Your Vice President of Wellbeing and Diversity, Bitty Inyang
Resources for learning:
University of Plymouth
“As a University community we have been deeply moved by these tragic events in the US which have clearly highlighted the racial inequalities that are still sadly prevalent in all parts of society. Staff and students have voiced the need for change as part of the Black Lives Matter movement and we must support and respond to these calls.”
Read the full statement from the University of Plymouth here.
Report & Support
We understand that these events can impact on mental health and may be triggering for people who have experienced racism and abuse in their own life. There are free resources you can access as a University of Plymouth student to support your mental health here
If you have experienced racism whilst at University and wish to report it, students and staff can report abuse, harm or hate that happens on campus, using the Speak Up online reporting tool. This can be done anonymously or using your contact details, allowing you to have a follow up appointment with an appropriate advisor. The reporting tool has been developed in partnership with the SU and the University of Plymouth.
Access the Speak Up reporting tool here Speak Up