It’s no secret that currently there is a riot sweeping across the US because a black man, George Floyd was killed in broad daylight by four police officers. It’s not just one act of racial crime it is more of a systematic racial discrimination of black people across many countries, including the United Kingdom, that burst to the surface.
White privilege, immunity, racism and discrimination are just some of the concepts that influence how authorities make judgements, how people of colour are being treated and why society ignores issues that does not affect them directly. The movement of Black Lives Matter urges people to speak up and take actions to support BME communities whose voice has been undermined for decades.
Even if the riots are currently happening in the US, this topic cannot be ignored elsewhere, as it is just as much our fight as it is theirs. There are a few things that as a UK citizen you can do to help supporting the transition to create a more accepting and fair society, including:
Call/Email MPs to question their stance on the murder of George Floyd
Look around and see if your MP has spoken out to protest the murder of George Floyd. Check their Twitter, Facebook and local news to see if they have spoken out against it. Go to https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/ to see how your MPs vote on different issues.
If they haven’t spoken out against the murder of George Floyd, ask them why with this email template.
„Dear [MP’S NAME],
My name is [YOUR NAME]. I’m a(n) [OCCUPATION] who has lived in [YOUR CONSTITUENCY] for [LENGTH OF TIME]. Over the past [X] days, the riots in Minneapolis have not only shown the world the systemic racism that is still pervasive in modern societies, it has also exposed the indifference that people in power have towards it. Many who claim to represent the people of the UK have not made any motion to show their support for black people who still suffer from the institutionalised racism that still exists in the UK. Since you are my MP, I want to ask why you have not yet taken a stance on the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. Is there anything preventing you from speaking out against it? Can the people of our constituency expect to hear you speak out on this matter soon? I am expecting a detailed response to these questions.
It is easy for people in the UK to look at what happens in the US and say “it’s not as bad in the UK, so there’s no reason to complain”. But this simply isn’t true. According to the Institute of Race Relations, police are 28x more likely to use Section 60 stop-and-search powers, where officers don’t require suspicion that a person has been involved in a crime, against black people than white people (http://www.irr.org.uk/research/statistics/criminal-justice/). On top of this, BAME people die disproportionately as a result of use of force or restraint by the police (https://www.inquest.org.uk/bame-deaths-in-police-custody). As an MP, it is your duty to serve and help the people in your constituency. And as a member of your constituency, it is my duty to ask what you’re doing to help. So, what exactly have you done to combat racism in the UK on a national and local level? Have you introduced any legislation in parliament that actively aims to either fight racism or lift people of colour out of a disadvantaged position? What measures have you taken to ensure that racism within our community isn’t allowed to thrive? I would also like detailed responses to these questions.
I want you to understand how important the issue of racism is to me. The systematic oppression of nonwhite people needs to be actively fought against if we as a country truly believe that all people are born equal. The inaction of politicians to fight racism is not something that any reasonable person can stand for anymore. If you set out to make a change, it can happen. But it won’t happen if you stand by and let it happen.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I hope you take the issues I have raised seriously. I look forward to reading your response.
Black Lives Matter.
[YOUR NAME HERE]
[YOUR ADDRESS HERE]”
You can find their email addresses at: https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies
Make sure to add your address when you send this to your MP; the spam filters on an MP’s email prevent people from emailing them without a return address. Put it at the bottom of your email that you send to them to make sure it gets through.
Educate yourself about racial injustice
- BAME Deaths in Police Custody (https://www.inquest.org.uk/bame-deaths-in-police-custody)
- In 2011, police were 28 times more likely to use ‘Section 60’ stop-and-search powers (where officers do not require suspicion of the person having been involved in a crime) against black people than white people. (http://www.irr.org.uk/research/statistics/criminal-justice/)
- Analysis of all stop-and-searches in 2014-2015, by StopWatch, indicated that people from all BAME groups are twice as likely as white people to be stopped and searched. Black people specifically are 4.2 times as likely as white people to be stopped and searched by the police. Stop and search practices are frequently ineffective. Around 86 per cent of the 539,788 stop and searches made in England and Wales from 2014-2015 did not lead to an arrest. (http://www.stop-watch.org/news-comment/story/new-stop-and-search-statistics-2014-2015)
- Information on how to support BAME people during COVID-19 (https://www.ubele.org/covid19-supporting-bame-communities?fbclid=IwAR2e6GyGjwaIGaIwyJZTo7qW8qqr2WXz0V5G63foPmW6VgdBIA7EkLcSOhY)
- Black Owned Businesses in the UK (https://www.ukblackowned.co.uk/)
- Yale University Course on African American History (https://oyc.yale.edu/african-american-studies/afam-162)
- University of Exeter Course on British Imperialism (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/empire?utm_source=RakutenMarketing&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=3132850:MOOC+List&utm_content=10:1&utm_term=UKNetwork&ranMID=42801&ranEAID=*GqSdLGGurk&ranSiteID=.GqSdLGGurk-gsv3YBnGuJDKVOQNRKHfXg)
- Books By Black Activists (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1mljH99Nwy-SfgbDec-UDHSrrN1_JLmwB?usp=sharing)
- Twitter Thread on Documentaries about understanding racism, prejudice, police brutality, and more (https://twitter.com/FILMSHAWTY/status/1266029625626497031)
- Anti Racism Resources for White People (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic)
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson (https://b-ok.cc/book/3553806/99f7ce)
- Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States (Written by multiple authors) (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/952-who-do-you-serve-who-do-you-protect?discount_code=WHODOYOUSERVE)
- Operation Black Vote (https://www.obv.org.uk/) [National charity which aims to increase the number of BME people who vote in the UK]
- The Black Curriculum (https://www.theblackcurriculum.com/our-work) [Charity that aims to teach children about black history]
- BLM Bournemouth (@blm_bmouth on instagram, https://www.facebook.com/groups/250619886041994?group_view_referrer=profile_browser as a private facebook group) [BLM organisers in Bournemouth
- Race and Health (https://raceandhealth.org/events.html) [Researchers looking at the links between health inequality and race]
- Kwanda (https://kwanda.co/) [Grassroots campaign which creates opportunities for BAME people, and uses a democratic system to decide which causes to champion]
Donate money to these groups to help them execute their work
- Gofundme page for Belly Mujinga, a ticket collector who died of COVID-19 after being spat at by a passenger (https://www.gofundme.com/f/rip-belly-mujinga?fbclid=IwAR0p_F-SoQKQIC3zZRUbMYEtKsgpbZkhpmpj3FPjfcf_-b4IWqMKVNQRPgk)
- Gofundme page for Jennie Sablayan, NHS nurse https://www.gofundme.com/f/jennie-sablayan-a-true-nhs-hero)
- Minnesota Freedom Fund for protestors (https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate)
- Funeral Fund for Dio Johnson (https://www.gofundme.com/f/justice-for-dion-johnson?fbclid=IwAR3FvXBErRhDvNG2b4Pt4FVeGBwSqZGsigWy8C-JNrZI4UuxyfIAcchtOms)
- The Bail Project (https://secure.givelively.org/donate/the-bail-project)
- Support George Floyd Protestors (https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/support-justiceforgeorgefloyd-protesters-in-atlanta/)
- Support the African American Policy Forum (https://aapf.org/support)
- Gofundme Page for a retreat for black survivors of domestic abuse (https://www.gofundme.com/f/Mango-Morning-Post-Covid19-Weekend-Retreat-Appeal?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet)
- Gofundme Page for UK Legal Support for protestors (https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-protest-legal-support-uk)
- StopWatch’s Campaign for Fair Accountable Policing (https://www.gofundme.com/f/StopWatch-Campaign-for-Fair-Accountable-Policing?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet)
- Emergency Fund for LGBTQ+ people of colour (https://www.gofundme.com/f/nepjh-uk-qtibipoc-emergency-relief-amp-hardship-fund)
- Gofundme page for Trevor Belle, a blac ktaxi driver who died of COVID-19 after being spat at (https://www.gofundme.com/f/trevor-belle)
Sign petitions that can change laws, orders and the level of injustice
- Justice for George Floyd Petition (https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd?source_location=search_index&algorithm=promoted&original_footer_petition_id=&grid_position=6&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAAoFVgEAAAAAXtE88uaPXFo5YTFmMWVhOA%3D%3D)
- Petition to instate punishments for police officers who shoot unarmed civilians (https://www.change.org/p/us-senate-hands-up-act?original_footer_petition_id=22414602&algorithm=promoted&source_location=petition_footer&grid_position=1&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAFbO1gAAAAAAXtE9GJ0eLNg3YzYzMTk2Nw%3D%3D)
- Justice for Tony McDade, a black trans man who was killed by police in Tallahassee (https://www.change.org/p/black-lives-matter-activists-justice-for-tony-mcdade)
- Petition to Remove bail for Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/raise-degree-remove-bail-derek-chauvin-murderer-george-floyd)
- Petition to arrest all officers involved in George Floyd’s murder (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/arrest-other-three)
- Justice for Breonna Taylor (https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforbre-breonna-taylor-officers-fired?source=coc_main_website&fbclid=IwAR0-hp_MaZLyK6btnguKCh8-O3xju9r48iD6Nl5TgSePONPznJH6dZ_l7kI)
- Petition for mandatory life sentences for police brutality (https://www.change.org/p/department-of-justice-mandatory-life-sentence-for-police-brutality?fbclid=IwAR3feKIUOSckApv-pOs2Mbb18MOWKg2xdbzlR24GRmfqDSBAwWwbbZEe9AY)
- Petition for more protections for black trans women in the UK (https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-more-protection-for-black-trans-women-uk?recruiter=866836423&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition&recruited_by_id=14389a80-33f8-11e8-9c60-cb092b48826b)
- Petition for Justice for Shukr Abdi (https://www.change.org/p/manchester-police-justice-for-shukri-abdi)
- Petition to call on the UK government to condemn Trump’s response to the BLM protests(https://www.change.org/p/calling-on-uk-government-to-condemn-trump-s-response-to-black-lives-matter-protest)
- Suspend all UK exports of riot gear to the USA (https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-suspend-uk-export-of-tear-gas-rubber-bullets-and-riot-shields-to-usa?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_22558188_en-GB%3Av7&recruited_by_id=93523500-a526-11ea-b227-198a53caa4ed&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message&share_bandit_exp=message-22558188-en-GB&share_bandit_var=v0)
- Introduce Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting in the UK (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300105)
- Update the GCSE English Lit reading lists to include more black authors (https://www.change.org/p/department-of-education-battle-racism-by-updating-reading-lists-at-gcse?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_22536040_en-GB%3Av5&recruited_by_id=2cc0d700-a59f-11ea-8fc7-856fb932abd0&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial)
- Justice for Christopher Alder, a black man who was wrongfully killed by police and had his body swapped before he was buried (https://www.thepetitionsite.com/239/938/797/justice-for-christopher-alder-family/)