Resources for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement
Since his tragic murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, the death of George Floyd has become the cornerstone of the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests have gone global, with people taking to the streets not only in the US and UK, but also in Sydney, Brussels, Rio De Janeiro and Seoul. Not only has the movement raised awareness towards police brutality, the protests have also caused us to question our cultural identities, particularly in western Europe, highlighting our colonial history and our relationship with this history today. As seen in Bristol, when BLM protestors tore down the statue of slave trade merchant Edward Colston, and In Brussels, as demonstrators defaced the statue of King Leopold II, the Belgian ruler whose atrocities caused the near genocide of millions of Congolese people.
As people go back to resume their regular content online, it is easy for us to move and forget that the fight isn’t over. It is now more important than ever for the movement not to lose momentum. Right now, it is crucial that we continue to make our voices heard, fight racism and support BME communities. While protesting is so important to maintain this, another way of supporting the Black community is through supporting organisations and charities than do amazing work in helping BME people.
Below I have listed various organisations you can get involved with and donate to, that help support Black individuals and their communities:
Black Lives Matter UK (UKBLM)
Black Lives Matter UK is a coalition of black activists and organisers across the UK. First founded in 2016, they are currently at the forefront of protests in the UK. Their mission is to dismantle imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy and all wider power structures that disproportionately affect black people in the UK and around the world. Their commitment to helping all black lives means they strive to help all marginalised communities including but not limited to, working class queer, trans, disabled, Muslim, undocumented, women/nonbinary and HIV+.
Access UK Charitable Organisation founded in 2014, dedicated to reducing youth unemployment, provide employment and training solutions for young offenders and implementing anti-gang initiatives in Black communities. Their ultimate objective is to reverse the 50% national unemployment rate amongst BME youth.
Personally, I was disappointed at the under representation of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds at University. In my 4 years at University I’ve only ever had one black tutor/lecturer. The Amos Bursary was set up to address this, particularly to tackle the under representation of British black men from BME backgrounds in higher education professions and backgrounds.
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
This organisation was set up in honour of Stephen Lawrence, after his tragic murder due to a racist attack in April, 1993. They work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to tackle inequality of all forms. Whether this be through their school, young leaders, or building futures programmes. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust works tirelessly to support young people from school and into their careers.
Lambeth has the highest number of Black people accessing mental health services in the UK. Black Thrive works to create black-led healing spaces, in order to support these individuals across the borough. Black Thrive is a collective of statutory organisations, communities, volunteers and the private sector. Their work is dedicated to reducing inequality and injustice experienced by Black people in mental health services.
However, if you are unable to donate, it is crucial to remember that there are other ways to support these organisations. Being an ally means more than just donations. Showing support through protesting and showing solidarity is still crucial, but here are some other ways you can help: Write to your MP As the world has watched on as protestors have marched across the US, some peaceful protests unfortunately turned into battles with the police. Hundreds of videos of police brutality have shown protestors hit with tear gas and rubber bullets. This led to one Journalist in Minneapolis, Linda Tirado, to lose an eye.
Therefore, Human Rights Organisations such as Amnesty International, have been calling for the British government to halt exports of riot gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets to the United States. An excellent way we can all support this action is by personally writing to our MP, demanding the end of such exports. You can find your local MP at writetothem.com. Be sure to include to include your full name and address so they can see you are a constituent. Join the Campaign Enquiring into BME deaths MP Diane Abbot and the Stand Up To Racism organisation are campaigning for an independent inquiry into the disproportionate number of BME deaths due to Covid-19. You can follow the campaign here:
Support Anti-Racism Organisations
Supporting organisations such as these can help to tackle racism in our society and highlight issues of racial inequality. Here are links to a couple organisations that work to provide research and influence policy that BME communities. Organisations such as Race on the Agenda (ROTA) is free, and members are kept up to the date with social policy issues affecting Black communities. Here is the link to the ROTA website:
CRER is a Scottish anti-racist organisation, while they also accept donations, you can also support through simply sharing and reading their work, as well as signing up to their email updates:
*Resources Below were added on Saturday 11th July
Stop and search powers are used disproportionately against the black community, black people are 2.7 times more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts. StopWatch is an organisation which has led a wide range of campaigns against the disproportionate use of stop and search, the increasing use of stop and search powers and the weakening of accountability mechanisms. This includes legal and political analysis, media coverage and commentary, litigation, political advocacy, and community organising. I personally recommend you look into their campaign on holding your local police commissioner accountable, helping to shape their policies and making informed decisions on who to vote for.
To learn more: https://www.stop-watch.org/
INQUEST is the only charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. Their specialist casework includes deaths in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings, and deaths which involve multi-agency failings, or which call into question the accountability of state or corporate institutions. INQUEST is entirely independent, receives no government funding and thus relies solely on donations.
Founded by six young women, what began as a community outreach programme in 2017 is now an established service provider with a focus on teaching black history to children across London. BLAM (Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health) believe that every young person are entitled to:
A more comprehensive and diverse education.
A safe space where their mental health and general feelings can be discussed.
The opportunity to explore their interests and passions with consistent support from their local community.
To learn more: https://blamuk.org/
Black Minds Matter UK
With Covid-19 taking its toll, it’s now more important than ever to look after our mental health, unfortunately for many, this can be very difficult. Due to the strain the current pandemic has had on the NHS, it is now even more difficult for black people in Britain to access culturally sensitive and competent mental health care. Recognising this, Agnes Mwakatuma and Annie Nash made it their mission to provide Black individuals and families with free mental health services, from professional black therapists. These services are tailored specifically for black trauma. The Black Minds Matter UK fund is used to cover the cost of services, up to 12 sessions of therapy.
To learn more: https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/our-mission
UK Black Pride
UK Black Pride is an organisation which advocates, supports and celebrates LGBTQ people of colour. Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the last UK Black Pride event was cancelled. With your donations, this could help fund future events, as well as supporting the community through their community outreach and advocacy programmes. UK Black Pride also help to support and celebrate the LGBTQ community through education, arts and cultural events.
To learn more: https://www.ukblackpride.org.uk/
To Donate: https://www.ukblackpride.org.uk/ukbp-donate
Lastly one of the best ways to help yourself and your BME friends and family is to educate yourself and each other on Race, anti-racism and the black experience. Below are some links to websites listing dozens of different literatures on race and other issues affecting BME communities. While not all the books mentioned on these lists are about race and black issues. It is just as important that we enjoy all work by Black authors. There is a rich catalogue of literature by BME authors, as while it is important we educate ourselves about racism, it’s just as important that we enjoy, share, and celebrate black stories.