The tragic killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man at the hands of the police, has caused anger across not just the United States of America, but the whole world. His death, alongside those of Breonna Taylor, Rashan Charles and countless others, is a sad reminder of the huge challenges our society still faces with racism and inequality.
As the leadership team of the LSBU Group, we firmly stand united against racism and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
A strong motive for all of us joining the LSBU Group are the values that live within the DNA of our family of like-minded institutions. London is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world. And at the outset, the founders of London South Bank University (the first member of the LSBU Group) spoke not only of learning but the need to promote health, wellbeing and equality. Over 125 years later, we still live by these values and fight for social justice – looking beyond race, gender and postcodes, to make a real difference to the lives of individuals and to our society.
As an employer, and more importantly, as influencers in education and on the lives of young people, we need to do more to provide equality of opportunity for black and ethnic minority people to access the high quality technical and professional learning that they need. We are on that journey. The formation of the LSBU Group is just one step in ensuring we have the capabilities to support our South London communities. And although we are proud of the successes we have seen in recent years in the reduction in our Gender Pay Gap and securing an Athena SWAN Bronze, we still have some way to go in eliminating awarding gaps. We also want to make sure that diverse talent rises to the top of our staffing structures. We acknowledge these challenges, and we will not shy away from them.
To our black students, teachers, alumni and staff; rest assured that we stand beside you and are here to support you. We sit here in privileged positions, and therefore it is our responsibility to proactively take action to stamp out racism so that the people of South London and beyond can work, study and live in a community that treats them equally.
David Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor
Patrick Bailey, Provost
Deborah Johnston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Warren Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor School of Health and Social Care
Paul Ivey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation) and Chief Business Officer
Fiona Morey, Pro Vice-Chancellor Compulsory and Further Education
Richard Flatman, Chief Financial Officer
Nicole Louis, Chief Customer Officer
Marcelle Moncrieffe-Johnson, Group Executive Director of People and Organisation Development
James Stevenson, Group Secretary
Here are a few tips and resources to help you take care of yourself during this difficult time:
- Listen to your body – make sure you are meeting your basic needs; eating, drinking enough water and sleeping well
- Build a supportive network – reach out and connect with friends and family who may be experiencing similar feelings to you. Be kind and supportive to each other
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions – it may be very overwhelming emotionally right now. It’s natural and okay to feel upset, frustrated, angry, anxious and many other emotions in response to the events happening in the world
- Limit media intake – take breaks from media when you feel stressed. You may feel the need to stay informed but it is okay to give yourself some time away from the screen when you feel overwhelmed
- Engage in self care practices – try meditation, mindfulness, reading or any other activity which helps you cope and relaxes you
Here are some useful resources you might want to check out:
- Black Thrive
- Words of Colour
- Mind’s Young Black Men programme
- Sharing Voices
- Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness
Useful accounts to follow on social media:
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Dr Mariel Buque
- Morgan Harper Nichols
- Brown Girl Self-Care
- Black Female Therapists
Charities & Petitions
- Show Racism the Red Card
- Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
- Stand Against Racism & Inequality
- Stop Hate UK
- “If you can’t donate, watch” – video
- Donate to the George Floyd Memorial fund here.
- Donate to the official Black Lives Matter campaign here.
- Donate to The Bail Project here.
- Donate to the Belly Mujinga memorial fund here.
- Donate to the Ahmaud Arbery memorial fund here.
- Donate to The Movement For Black Lives here.
- Sign the Justice for George Floyd petition here.
- Sign the petition for #WeCantBreathe here.
- Sign the Justice for Belly Mujinga petition here.
- Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor petition here.
Q: What is #BlackLivesMatter?
A: Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an international human rights movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
Q: Who is George Floyd?
A: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered in Minneapolis while being arrested. During an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kept his knee on the side of Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down. During the last three minutes, Floyd was motionless. Three more officers who were involved in the arrest further restricted his body movement and prevented intervention of the onlookers. An ambulance was called at the scene. Later, Floyd went into a full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Q: What does this have to do with the UK?
A: The UK has a long and complex relationship when it comes to race and ethnicity. Issues seen in the US exist here in the UK and the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are not yet equal to the white majority population.
Q: Why were there black boxes all over my social media?
A: The #BlackOutTuesday campaign was started by the music industry to allow artists and workers to disconnect from social media posting and reconnect with communities. It quickly grew into a global social media phenomenon on 2nd July which has drawn both praise and criticism.
It is incredibly important to prioritise your mental health and focus on your emotional wellbeing. This is especially the case now where tragic racial injustices experienced by the Black community are being reported widely and traumatic video footage is being circulated on social media.
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