Following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, we committed to start holding regular learning groups (mostly monthly) for our team to discuss race equity issues, increase our collective understanding and better inform our work.
From January 2022 these were widened to include other areas too, seen through an intersectional lens.
We use the term "liberation" to talk about freedom from the oppression people face because of their identities, taken from NUS' liberation work. This group is also part of SOS-UK's work towards its third core aim to make sustainability more inclusive, so it is for everyone.
Each staff member takes it in turns to research an issue, send some materials in advance to the rest of the team and then host a session for the group to discuss.
Facilitators should find 3 core resources to suit different learning styles (e.g. articles, videos, audio clips). This should be max. 30 mins' worth and sent out to the team at least a week in advance.
There are no set questions to be asked of the group, but some examples could include what was learnt, what wasn't understood and how any learnings could be applied to the organisation. Where appropriate, smaller break-out groups could be used e.g. for some sensitive discussions.
Facilitators do not need to be an expert in the area!
Activism & race
This covers activism and voluntary organisations within the UK, and does not cover the risks associated with protesting in other countries or the importance of climate justice.
Within the resource list here, the key resources are in bold and there are summary sections and key facts included.
Assimilation/integration & race
...and the model minority/good immigrant myth.
Black History Month 2021
1. Book - Black Teacher by Beryl Gilroy
Beryl Answick (later Gilroy) moved to London 1951 to study psychology and later found it difficult to enter the teaching profession, being one of few teachers from the Caribbean in England in the 1950s. She found her first teaching job in Bethnal Green and later was appointed head of a primary school, becoming the first black women head in the country (there’s a mural planned for West Hampstead Primary School in future). This account, originally released in 1976, charts racial tension, changing education policy, widespread suspicion and her brilliant approach to teaching.
2. Music - 2 Sim by Duval Timothy
A track titled ‘2 Sim’, the title track from an EP by pianist Duval Timothy, released in 2018. The video’s directed by Duval Timothy and recorded in Sierra Leone. Alongside the instrumentation, voices reflect on migration and identity. One narrator talks about moving from Sierra Leone to the UK and starting primary school “I thought it was sand and blue sky...I got the shock of my life...cold as hell”. Another narrator talks about an intergenerational divide with his Nigerian parents, living in London and growing to understand his parents' experience. Sport is referenced as a shared culture and way to connect.
3. Birdwatching and community group - Flock Together
Flock Together is a “monthly birdwatching support club combating under-representation of people of colour in nature”, created by Nadeem Perera and Ollie Olanipekun. As well as an interest in birds, the group aims to facilitate a healing process for people of ethnic minority backgrounds. It is a response to the fact that 98.1% of Black people in England and Wales live in urban areas and a belief “we are all of this thing called nature”.
4. Art - Black Experience, solo exhibition by Sunil Gupta (2021, Hales Gallery)
Photographs originally commissioned in 1986 for Reflections of the Black Experience at Brixton Art Gallery. Gupta was born in India in 1953 and moved to London in 1977, and his work is dedicated to themes of race, migration and political commentary. The exhibition description in the link below describes the Black Arts Movement, Gupta’s involvement with the Greater London Council and the Association of Black Photographers (set up in 1988).
Defunding the police
Environmentalism and race
Food & farming and race
Stats to consider:
*Biopiracy is the unethical or unlawful appropriation or commercial exploitation of biological materials (such as medicinal plant extracts) that are native to a particular country or territory without providing fair financial compensation to the people or government of that country or territory.
For further reading and research, see page 2 and onwards of the full guide here.
Holocaust denial, distortion and antisemitism
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on 27th January, this is a day to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms our commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27th January 1945.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."
Video: What is Antisemitism? Community Security Trust (2 mins)
Video: Antisemitism, intersectionality and Wokeness (14 mins)
Video: Record rise in antisemitism in UK in 2021 (15 mins)
Online course: Antisemitism: From its origins to the present
Overpopulation and race
Stats to consider:
Philanthropy and race
Reparations for slavery