Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter for the LGBTQ Staff Forum:
We, as a forum of LGBTQ staff at the University of Essex, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We support the protestors who are standing up against police brutality and systemic racism in the US, the UK, and the world.
The violent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police was captured on film, but his death was not an isolated incident. Two days after the death of George Floyd, Florida police shot and killed Tony McDade – a Black trans man. Two weeks before, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home after Kentucky police broke in. The protests are fighting to get justice for these Black lives murdered by police.
But racist policing is not only an American issue:
- Over 50% of British youth in prisons are ethnic minorities, despite being 20% of the general population.
- Between 2014 and 2019, Black people were 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.
- Black people are detained under the mental health act 4 times more than white people.
- 12% of police incidents using force involve Black people, despite Black people making up 3.3% of the population of the UK.
But racism is not just found with the police. Our own University’s Student’s Union has released a statement reporting their experiences of racism at the University at the hands of other students and staff. The University must do more to challenge racism in our community and in our own institution. We cannot just claim to not be racist. We cannot just unpack our unconscious biases. We cannot just retreat into silence.
We as a community must be anti-racist. We must work to combat the racist acts and systems of oppression at our University and in our communities.
The liberation of Queer people has been intimately tied with the liberation of Black people, and the modern struggle for LGBTQ rights in the US and UK started at the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. The Stonewall Riots were initiated and led by Queer people of color, including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. As a staff organisation of LGBTQ people, we support the ongoing fight for racial justice in the US, UK and, the world, and we are committed to combatting racism in our own communities.
Black Lives Matter. Black Queer Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. Black Lesbian Lives Matter. Black Gay Lives Matter. Black Bi Lives Matter. Black Nonbinary Lives Matter. Black Intersex Lives Matter.