University of Essex Global Forum statement in support of Black Lives Matter

The members of the Global Forum staff network at the University of Essex stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. We strongly condemn police brutality and systemic racism that infects societies throughout the world.

George Floyd’s murder by the Minneapolis police is only one in a series of recent deaths in the US due to police brutality and racism. Prior to George Floyd’s murder, Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was shot and killed by Tallahassee police in Florida, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in Kentucky after they broke into her home and Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while out jogging near his home in Georgia. Since George Floyd’s murder, David McAtee, a business owner who was known to give out free meals to the police, was killed during police enforcement of a curfew, by police who were not wearing body cameras. These are just a few of the incidents that have occurred in the US over the past few months.

We recognise that issues of police brutality and racism are not exclusive to the US and as a staff network with members around the world we have similar stories from our countries, including our chosen country of residence, the UK. The victims of the systemic racism of the ‘Windrush’ scandal and associated ‘hostile environment’ policies still await appropriate compensation. Ethnic minorities are overrepresented in the UK Criminal Justice and prison system. Ethnic minorities are also more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, experience excessive force within those encounters and be detained under the Mental Health Act compared to white people.

Within our own university and community, we are aware of the inequalities that minority ethnic students and staff experience as a result of systemic racism. We support and stand in solidarity with statements issued by the Students’ Union, the BAME Forum and the LGBTQ Forum in support of Black Lives Matter and anti-racism. We will work with our staff and students to stop racism and dismantle racist systems within the University and within our communities.

The Global Forum is a place where we celebrate our cultural diversity and share our experiences and support our colleagues. We are committed to ensuring that our staff and students are able to work and study in an environment that is anti-racist. We will work together with staff and students in our University to break down the systems in which it operates that leads to all experiences of inequality and oppression.