At the UCO we are committed to supporting our BAME students, staff, patients and the wider community, and encourage members of our community to be respectful and to share, listen and learn from one another’s experiences. If you want to find out more about the Black Lives Matter movement and how to support it, below are some suggestions provided by one of our students.
Educate yourself. We all have implicit biases. That’s OK to admit! But civilization is about working against our basic instincts. We won’t be able to change our prejudices until we address that we have them in the first place.
Learn what it means to have racial privilege, understand the covert forms of white supremacy you may not know you’re engaging in. You know not to use a racial slur, but how about tone policing? Or tokenism? Please see the following image to help. If any of these terms are unfamiliar to you, please take the time to look them up.
Original Image: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (2005) "Building a Multi-Ethnic, Inclusive & Antiracist Organization-Tools for Liberation Packet for Anti-Racist Activists, Allies, & Critical Thinkers". Adapted by: Ellen Tuzzolo (2016)
Read, read, read! - there are some incredible resources out there from the history of racial injustice. A good place to start is Corrine Shutacks - 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Injustice or THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS by Michelle Alexander. There are also many podcasts out there if reading isn’t your thing.
Listen and learn- It is not up to your Black friends and colleagues to educate you. But when those who have been affected are speaking, listen. Do not dominate the conversation if you are not a member of the Black community.
It starts at home. Confront casual racial and colourism at home. Don’t let it slide because of a “generational” difference. You can have a peaceful conversation of change. Do not give older generations a pass for casual racism because “they come from a different time”, they can and will understand. Educate yourself and them.
Understand that YES, racism does affect all people of colour, but there is an anti-black prejudice that exists in white and brown communities.
And finally, Black people face aggressions daily. Seeing the state of affairs lately will, understandably, take a mental toll. Check-in with your friends. Make sure they are doing OK. Be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. Be careful when sharing images and videos. Seeing visuals of violence can be triggering. Take care to be sure you are helping, not hurting. By taking the time to read up on resources and educate yourself, you are already taking care to be a beneficial, thoughtful ally. Go you! Now, take action.
Here is a list of 30 Black Lives Matter petitions you could share and sign to be part of a global change
If you can’t go out to protest for whatever reason, that is absolutely fine. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic and we know certain communities and/or if you live with compromised family members are vulnerable. There is plenty you can do at home to help further the cause. Your activism is still valuable. Start a fundraiser, sign petitions, donate, spread awareness where you can and support the people. There are more ideas in this Great Big Story article, How to become a better black lives matter ally.