Messages of Support for Black Lives Matter

While I believe it is really important that we add our own voices to those that are saying that Black Lives Matter right now, and while I believe speaking out is an action in itself, I also feel that now is a good time to take stock of our actions. It is a good time to ask ourselves what have we done so far to address racism and discrimination? How effective has it been? How can we  build into every aspect of University life an assumption that we will regularly and routinely interrogate our practice? Black lives have always mattered, but racism and discrimination persist. I feel that we must now use  recent events as a catalyst to push us even further in our commitment to making our University a place of belonging, inclusion and opportunity for all. This must be a place where everyone can expect to feel safe and  able to draw attention to discrimination they experience. We must all commit ourselves to taking responsibility for speaking up and acting when we witness racism and discrimination. We must be prepared to challenge the taken for granted practices that allow racism and discrimination to persist and to ensure that we are prepared to treat listening to those who experience racism and discrimination as the most powerful action we can take, and as one that will allow us to find a more hopeful way forward. Kate Gleeson, Director of the Doctoral College

Recent events in this country and across the world have shocked and upset us all, and reminded us of the extent to which institutionalised racism still permeates our society.  Diversity and equality are key values of higher education and as an academic community we are committed to an inclusive and respectful environment for all students, researchers, and members of staff. In the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, postgraduate researchers are conducting cutting-edge research into the problems facing our society including racism and discrimination, and I am very proud of the contribution that we are making toward a fairer, more just, and kinder society for all.  We must all continue to speak out against racism because Black lives matter. Allan Kilner-Johnson, Associate Dean Doctoral College (FASS)

To matter is to affect, to be considered substantive,  to count, to be of importance, to be of value, to carry weight, to mean something and to make a difference. I want to work in a place where everyone matters and makes it their business to ensure this felt and experienced by all. Through the efforts we are undertaking I hope that more BAME students will choose to come and study at Surrey. I hope that more are encouraged to go into higher education and that Surrey plays a role in ensuring this happens. I hope that the number of BAME colleagues at Surrey and throughout the higher education sector will grow and shape the way we carry out our research, work and learn. There is much to be gained, but still much to be learned and do. The resulting diverse, inclusive and rich environment will be well worth the effort. Having colleagues who speak up and take action, particularly our PGRs and ECRs, makes me hopeful we will see change. Thank you for your efforts.Monique Raats, Associate Dean Research and Innovation (FHMS)

In these difficult times, we need to be more than ever united against any form of discrimination based upon race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender and political opinion. As a personal message, as somebody who, in his life, has endured discrimination due to religious and ethnic background, I would like say, as Martin Luther King, that I look to a day when people “will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Marco Sacchi, Chair ECR Forum

The murder of George Floyd has, yet again, dramatically exposed systemic racism in the United States. But institutionalized discrimination is also pervasive in Europe, and in the United Kingdom. The “Black lives matter” movement is an opportunity to question our collective institutions, our individual attitudes, and put forward the changes we want to see in this world.
As academics, we have to not only put forward role models for young people to look up to, but most importantly reform our institutions and make the University a space for both students and staff of all backgrounds to thrive. As citizens, it is our duty to deeply change our culture to make everyone part of a better, more tolerant world.
Giovanni Mirouh, Co-Founder of the ECR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

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