Posted on June 9th 2020
#BlackLivesMatter - Information for Students & Parents/Carers
Dear Students, Parents and Carers
When there are significant moments that affect our world, we would usually spend time in school talking about them and supporting one another. This would happen in assemblies, in lessons, in the playground.
Unfortunately, we cannot do this for now. However, it is very important to acknowledge and begin talking about what is happening both in the USA and closer to home here in the UK.
The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry and Breonna Taylor are not rare occurrences for Black communities. These atrocities have highlighted the reality of both the overt, structural and institutional racism that some people have lived in fear of all their lives. Every life is important and should be valued. But the current events across the USA and UK are affecting Black people; we need to give them the focus and attention they deserve at a time when their lives specifically are subject to danger, prejudice and discrimination.
Most of the attention at the moment is on racism in the USA, but in the UK, it is just as much of an issue: the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Windrush scandal and the murder of Stephen Lawrence are just some examples of racial injustice here in the UK. It is essential that we act with integrity and do not avoid the hard truths; it is essential that we are not silent in the face of racial injustice and brutality. Instead, we need to equip ourselves with the knowledge that will give us the power to create lasting change in the world. We need to recognise that it is not only the responsibility of our BAME (Black, and also Asian and Minority Ethnic) students and staff to speak out about the need to eradicate racism at a societal, structural and institutional level - this responsibility belongs to us all. We need to be brave enough to have these uncomfortable discussions so that any student – regardless of their race – can thrive in a changing world.
Conversations need to take place around the experiences of BAME people in our school, city and country; conversations need to spark action, and only then will we see change. Our incredible Harris Battersea community is all the more special because of our diversity. You matter. Your voice matters. This is why we will continue these conversations with you on Microsoft Teams and when we see you back in school. We are currently reviewing our own school systems and practices so that we can serve you better - not only now, but in the future. At Harris Battersea, we passionately believe that your education should recognise and celebrate the history and achievements of all groups of people in our diverse community and we will continue to work on this also with you.
Take a look at this page for how you can support, and be supported, during this time.
Please get in touch if you need anything at all or have any ideas you would like to put forward: firstname.lastname@example.org
All our very best,
The Senior Leadership Team
How to get involved
Reconnect with family and friends to protest virtually on social media platforms. If you want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and want to call for change, then share helpful resources on social media, and if you don’t know what to say, then say that! If you are white/Caucasian, public comments of support help Black people know that they are not fighting alone and it reminds racists that there are many people of all backgrounds who oppose them and their rhetoric.
Confront everyday racism. If you see it, call it out. Speak up calmly and respectfully if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, then talk to an adult, any member of staff at Harris Battersea or a family member and ask for support. Don’t let racist behaviour continue unchallenged. If you hear someone make a racist comment against a Black person, speak out and challenge it, either in the moment or later when you tell an adult what happened. Civil rights activist Angela Davis famously stated: ‘“It is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” Being against racism is not enough - we ALL need to find a way to be ANTI-racist and back this up with action.
Contact your local Police and Crime Commissioner and MP to raise your concerns about the way black communities are treated. Find your PCC here: https://www.apccs.police.uk/find-your-pcc/
Sign petitions at https://petition.parliament.uk/. If a petition receives 10,000 signatures, the government will respond.
Educate yourself. Many of you may have taken part in #BlackoutTuesday. This offered those participating to take a break from posting on social media platforms and use that time to educate themselves on the issue of racism and what you can do to make changes in your networks. There are lots of fantastic films, books, websites and articles that you can watch and read:
- Show Racism the Red Card
- Gal-dem - a publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour
- Reni Eddo-Lodge - a London based, award winning author and journalist
- Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. You can read an extract here.
- Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch. You can read an extract here.
- A list of Young Adult fiction that explores the Black Lives Matter movement.
- More books to explore these issues.
There are a lot of online articles and videos which have recently been published in response to the protests. Reading these can be distressing and upsetting. It is important to recognise that racism is distressing and upsetting so look after yourselves.
Support at Harris Academy Battersea.
- Your Year Leads are your first point of call if you want to discuss anything – feel free to e-mail them with any issues and ideas you would like to raise.
- If you would like to see our school counsellor, please let your Year Lead know.
- If you have a concern about your safety or the safety of someone you know, please contact Ms Hosker as soon as you can: email@example.com
Anti-racism charities in the UK
Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI)
Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) provides support for people who have suffered hate crime, including attacks that were racist, homophobic, transphobic and/or sexist. The charity employs trained caseworkers in order to help victims with the mental trauma they are experiencing, to assist with legal proceedings and to refer them to other services that may be of use. Find out more.
Kick It Out
Kick It Out is an organisation in England that uses football in order to promote equality and inclusivity. “Kick It Out is at the heart of the fight against discrimination for everyone who plays, watches or works in football,” it states. Beginning as an independent charity called Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football in 1993, Kick It Out was officially established four years later. Find out more.
Stop Hate UK
Originating in 1995 following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, Stop Hate UK is an organisation committed to supporting people affected by all forms of hate crime across the UK. “Stop Hate UK works alongside local strategic partnerships to tackle hate crime and discrimination, encourage reporting and support the individuals and communities it affects,” the charity says. “Our helplines enable people to access independent support and information, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.” Find out more
Runnymede is a registered charity and think tank that aims to “challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate and policy engagement”. The organisation, which is funded entirely by donations, states: “Our authoritative research-based interventions in social policy and practice, and our public engagement with decision makers, will assist policy-makers, practitioners, and citizens, to reduce the risk of our society being blighted by racism and discrimination to the detriment of us all.” Find out more
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was named after Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was murdered at the age of 18 in a racist attack in southeast London. The trust is an educational charity, which was created “to tackle inequality in all forms” and is committed to “transforming the life chances of young people and improving the world in which they live." Find out more
Show Racism the Red Card
Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racism educational charity that uses workshops and training sessions, among other resources, to educate on and combat racism. Founded almost 25 years ago, the organisation uses high-profile football players to publicise its message. Find out more.
- Racism information - from CBBC Newsround
- I Don't Like Racism – This girl explains how she is sad when she sees people being racist. From CBBC.
- Racism and racial bullying - information from ChildLine
A Parent's Guide to Black Lives Matter (pdf) - produced by the London Borough of Croydon
How to talk to kids about racism, protests and injustice – artcle from Today.com
Books that may help you explain racism and protest to your kids – article from New York Times
Talking to kids about race – article from National Geographic resource
How to talk to your children about race and racism – article from the BBC
The Children’s Community School – Social Justice Resources