Warwick UCU stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with Black communities involved in acts of resistance across the US in response to the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other Black and Indigenous men and women. We stand with and commit to supporting Black staff and students who may put themselves at risk of discrimination or exclusion as a result of protesting or mobilising against police brutality and white supremacy.
Racist police brutality and murder are not just endemic in the US, but are a problem inherent to policing worldwide. Police harassment and murder of BAME people in general, and Black people in particular, is rampant in the UK, too. Even though UK police do not have the ready access to guns that their US counterparts do, Black communities in the UK still bear the brunt of police harassment, violence and murder. Just this week the IOPC launched an enquiry into police brutality in Birmingham; it has emerged that Black people are twice as likely to be fined by the Met Police for breaches of the coronavirus lockdown.
In recognition of the impact of racist police violence on our local communities in the West Midlands, Warwick UCU resolves to make a donation of £100 (the most we as a committee are able to donate) to support Black Conscious Coventry. We also ask that our members, particularly non-Black members, take the following concrete actions:
- Learn more about black history and anti-racist social justice organising. Here are a few sources:
- NUS Black Students’ Campaign are compiling a twitter thread including information about black history, protest info and self-care.
- An article on the often-forgotten role of black workers and black struggles at the centre of British trade union campaigns.
- A list of books on racial justice available in the Warwick University library.
- The Institute of Race Relations has an excellent resource section and a “Calendar of Racism and Resistance.”
- Become familiar with and support important student activist groups at Warwick, particularly the Warwick Anti Racism Society, Warwick Anti Sexism Society (WASS) and Warwick Occupy. You can read WASS’s powerful statement here.
- Write to your MPs to demand the UK stop selling teargas and rubber bullets to the US police forces, to demand that the UK government responds to the report released today confirming that BAME people are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 and to call for continued investigation into the death of Belly Mujinga, a railway ticket clerk who was spat on while working and who subsequently died from COVID-19.
- Join local organisations working to end racist policies, such as the hostile environment and PREVENT.
If you have spare cash, please consider donating to these Black-led UK organisations working for racial justice.
Below is the motion we passed unanimously our committee meeting on 4 June 2020.
Warwick UCU stands in solidarity with those experiencing racist police violence and those working to end it
This committee notes:
1. The ongoing racist policing practices in the USA, the many deaths of black people at the hands of the police force including George Floyd, Ahmed Auberry, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade and far too many others, and the current violent policing of protesters demanding justice for these murders.
2. The ongoing racist policing practices in the UK and the many deaths of black people following contact with the police, including Darren Cumberbatch, Kingsley Burrell, Trevor Smith, Dalian Atkinson, Mark Duggan and far too many others.
3. That the West Midlands Police is currently under investigation for overuse of force against black men, including the use of weapons.
4. That discriminatory policing is now occurring in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting racially minoritised people in the UK, that the government has not taken seriously the evidence that this disproportionality is related to structural racism, and that pandemic-related policing has also disproportionately targeted the same groups.
5. The effects of structural racism, including policing practices on members of our union, on our students and on our communities.
6. That racist violence is structural, a product of and basis of our society, and that it is the responsibility of all trade unionists to oppose and work to unpick racism in all its forms.
7. The need to stand in solidarity with those who experience police violence and those working to end it, by taking ongoing and practical action.
This committee resolves:
1. To stand in solidarity with those who experience police violence and those working to end it.
2. To support members speaking out or protesting about these issues should they face intimidation, exclusion from opportunities, or discrimination of any kind as a result.
3. To donate £100 to the work of Black Conscious Coventry.
4. To increase political education for our members on questions of structural racism, in HE and beyond.
5. To write to local representatives (MPs, WM Police and Crime Commissioner, and candidates for next WMPCC) to ask them to outline specific actions they will take to address racism within the police and criminal justice system.