We as your HISA Executive want to extend our support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. The murder of George Floyd has appalled us, but we also recognise that his death is just one of countless that have died due to systematic racism across the world.
The recent protests and media campaign for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others, have once again highlighted the issues of racism, violence and injustice in society against black people. Issues of police brutality and the pertinence of racism should not be dismissed as an American issue and statements such as ‘it doesn’t happen here’ are simply not true.
In the UK, black students disproportionately suffer physical and verbal abuse at Education Establishments, black people are repeatedly killed in police custody, and only a few weeks ago a black woman, Belly Mujunga, died from Coronavirus after being spat on at Victoria Station.
As your Students’ Association, we stand firmly against racism. We know that our Universities, Colleges, and academic partners are not free from racism and we stand in full solidarity with all those protesting racism, in Scotland, in the UK, America and across the world, now and always.
As Student Executives, we have seen how issues of racial inequality affect students of colour and we believe that this presents a huge demand for radical action across our institution. Therefore, we want to make the following requests of the University of the Highlands and Islands and its academic partners:
Decolonise the Curriculum.
Use equality impact assessments in all policy development.
Publish and work to close University’s BAME attainment gap.
Publish and improve the University and it's academic partner's BAME staff ratio.
Explore the University’s link to slavery and colonialism.
Provide specialist welfare and mental health support for students in the BAME community.
At HISA, we will work to ensure that our community is safe for our black students. We will continue to call for the decolonisation of the University’s curriculum and will work to incorporate anti-racism into our ethos.
Everyone must stand up to racism. Call out those that write harmful/racist comments. Educate yourself on what may be triggering. Listen and respect the feelings of others - we cannot tolerate hate on any platform. If you witness any of these actions, educate those engaging in this behaviour and let them know that this is not accepted in the Highlands and Islands or any other space.
We encourage you as students to be mindful of your privilege and how it affects those around you. Listen to and amplify the black voices around you, donate to bail funds where possible, stream to raise money, sign petitions, email your MPs, support your local black creators, email your college or workplace and ask them what action they are taking, and work together to dismantle systematic racism and oppression.
If you are a Black student, please remember that HISA is a space where you can access support. However you may be dealing with this trauma is valid and you are not alone.
Silence is complicity - show your support and break the silence.