The Centre for Spatial Environmental and Cultural Politics stands in solidarity with all those protesting racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May, and with all black families who have lost loved ones to police brutality. We also express our support and solidarity with all our black Asian and minority ethnic colleagues, students and staff at the University of Brighton. We stand in solidarity with black people in the U.S., the UK, and across the world who continue to face violence, discrimination and oppression at the hands of their states and police. We are deeply saddened by this wholly unjust killing- and by the entrenched historical and structural racism that underpin police violence towards black American civilians. We do not see this death as an isolated event, but recognise it is part of the same brutality and injustice that led to the deaths of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, among many more in recent memory. Though the current issue is not exclusively an American one, here we extend our solidarity, support, and thoughts to our African American brothers and sisters. We too are heartbroken at these issues that are bringing people out onto streets.
As we struggle to come to terms with the high death rates of Covid-19, we recognise the deep poignancy of the slogan ‘I can’t breathe’—the last words of the black man Eric Garner who died in a police chokehold in New York City in 2014, which became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement—and which were resurrected in the mass national and global protests following George Floyd’s death.
We know that BAME communities in the UK are disproportionately affected by deaths to Covid-19, and that BAME workers are working at the frontline NHS effort to save lives. We recognise the interlinkage of racial injustice and the government’s lockdown response (herd immunity, eugenics discourses, inaction on the higher Covid-19 risks facing BAME citizens). We must take responsibility and do everything we can to eliminate racism from our institutions, societies and communities. As a collective, we are committed to fighting racial injustice and to finding peaceful, democratic, bottom-up political solutions that include the voices of the most oppressed, disenfranchised and marginalised members of society.
We believe in liberation through non-violence. Therefore our words, voices and testimonies must be enough. We also invite you to submit pieces of writing, solidarity and testimonies on your responses to the race crisis in the US and here at home. Responses to N.Khan@brighton.ac.uk
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