On May 25th George Floyd, a Black American citizen was unnecessarily killed at the hands of a White American police officer. Despite his pleas of ‘I can’t breathe’, George Floyd was yet another victim of police brutality and institutional racism in the United States. The Union joins the global community in condemning a culture that continues to allow this to happen in the modern world and in a so called ‘Civilised society’. We need however to acknowledge that racism is a global issue and needs a global stance and fight. The Student Union strongly condemns any form of racism, including institutionalised racism, and any form of police violence and brutality, but we also recognise that policing is by consent and is a reflection of the society it serves. If we want institutional racism to stop within our police forces we need to stand up and make the changes in our societies that currently perpetuate and foster ignorance, fear and prejudice. That is something we cannot expect the government to do for us, we have to do that ourselves.
The Union continues to oppose the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, and actively boycotts any activity that condones or supports the PREVENT programme, which we believe systematically and disproportionately targets Black and Ethnic minority communities. We will continue to encourage academic study to diversity from a Eurocentric standpoint and encourage and support the ‘decolonisation’ of the academic curriculum and we will continue to widen cultural understanding and tolerance through fostering , supporting and funding inclusion and community engagement activity through our ONE BRUNEL framework. Only through understanding that we ourselves hold the key to changing society, and therefore changing the culture of those entrusted with protecting us all, will we tackle racism and eradicate it from our world. We are incredibly proud of the diversity of our students here at Brunel and we do not and will not tolerate any form of racism, and we encourage you all to call it out when you see it, stand with those affected and raise your voice to those in charge. If we all do this together, we can start the long process of actually making change rather than just acknowledging that it’s not right that people are treated differently because of the heritage of their genes, and pretending we are powerless to make a difference.
We now have a message from our BME Officer, Jemmar Samuels
“As I write this, please note I come not just as the BME Officer for 2019/20 but as an activist who has been working to tackle racism in all its forms for years. I come to you as a young black woman from South London. I come to you as someone who has seen people they love and care about go through the criminal justice system. For the past year not only have I been working towards meeting my campaign manifesto points but with university and union staff on making some real structural change. From working with the Student Success Project to contributing to the new racial harassment policy.
This past week alone has been very heavy. I have been having internal debates about staying updated and in the loop of what is going on internationally but also protecting my mental health. Videos of black bodies being murdered is something we unfortunately quite frequently see these days. Seeing people attempt to justify the murders of people who look like me. In this time, I ask that you take the time to share the stories of those who have lost their lives, to donate to worthy causes, to protect your mental health when needed but also educate yourself on topics such as institutional racism. To be an ally at this time is unbelievably necessary and important.
I speak on behalf of myself, the African Caribbean Society, the Brunel Nigerian Society, and the Brunel West Indian Society when I say #BlackLivesMatter, they always have, and they always will. We stand in solidarity with the African diaspora, across the world, whether it be Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa, USA, or the U.K. We see innocent Black people dying at the hands of those sworn to protect them. We see you, we hear you and we feel your pain. We #SayHisName. We #SayHerName. We #SayTheirNames.