News Article

Black Lives Matter: a statement from your student officers

KCLSU wishes to extend care, thought, and solidarity to our black student community for whom we understand this will be an especially distressing and painful time, with the ongoing pandemic and the police brutality we are witnessing in the US and globally. We wish to honour the most recent victims of horrific police brutality in the US: George Floyd, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery. Sheku Bayoh, Sean Rigg, Sarah Reed, Mzee Mohammed, Shukri Abdi are just some of the black people who have also lost their lives as a result of police brutality and anti-black racism in the UK. We recognise that this is not strictly an issue concerning individual police officers, but a deeply entrenched institutional problem. Members of our black community have been disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic globally, including in the UK with the most recent victim Belly Mujinga, and with police in the UK disproportionately focusing stop and searches and fines on black people. 

Since George Floyd's death, there have been multiple protests in the US and globally to speak out against racism, police brutality, and anti-black violence. We recognise the issues of anti-blackness and police brutality are global ones and that as a Union, we have a critical role to play in dismantling, challenging, and calling out oppression. We stand by justice and truly condemn any discriminatory and abhorrent actions of not just police but anyone against Black people. We, as your Students’ Union, are in solidarity and stand in support with the Black Lives Matter movement and the mass protests happening in the UK. If you are attending, please do so safely.

 

As your Students’ Union, we recognise that we have a duty of care to protect the black members of our community for their safety and to denounce any racism that they face at King’s. We are dedicated to ensuring that we can fulfill our responsibilities now and in the future. We do not tolerate any form of racism and anti-blackness on our campuses within our student community and beyond. We also wish to recognise that we have a great deal of learning to undertake and commit to and we welcome these conversations and the opportunity to commit to taking the steps necessary. We will take appropriate measures to address any actions that are deemed to be racist, anti-black, or unjust as per our bye-laws, and we want to remind you that a complaints process exists if such matters arise and you or any student wishes to report discrimination.

 

We are committed to improving our actions to ensure no black student in our King’s community feels unsafe or scared, and we are committed to improving the black student experience at King’s. We understand that it is a very difficult and distressing time for black students and many of which will be feeling overwhelmed. If you feel that the recent events are impacting your academic performance, please seek support from our Advice Service, which offers free, confidential, and impartial advice. 

 

Liberation is in its truest sense can only be achieved as a collective effort and entails the examination of what we can all do within our respective power to help challenge discrimination, resist against structural oppression, and build a more humane and habitable world. We want to share that we are open to continued conversation and committing to ensuring our black students feel heard, represented, and able to shape our Union. We are open to unlearning, relearning, and delivering our activities in ways that serve our black student communities better. We highly value your opinions and should you wish to talk to us, you are always welcome to email us; we have also created an open conversation form if you wish to share any concerns anonymously. Our Student Voice team is also seeking to undertake 1-1 interviews and virtual focus groups with our black British members (of African and Caribbean heritage) in the hopes of better understanding what the needs of this community are in terms of being represented and supported. We will be compensating students for their time; if you are interested in participating, please get in touch by emailing representation@kclsu.org.

 

We want to reassure you that this is not only a statement but a commitment to change in all our capacity. Therefore, we will release a further statement with the actions that we will be committing to as your student representatives.

 

Thank you for reading and take care.