Like many other institutions and individuals we observed blackout Tuesday on 2nd June across our social media channels in support of #BlackLivesMatter.
As a memory institution we believe that we have a social responsibility to protect our collective memories. However, unequal power structures result in many forgotten, undervalued and erased histories from various under represented groups. These include LGBTQIA, Disabled, BAME, neuro-divergent, working class and women. We acknowledge that the collections at Heritage Quay currently perpetuate this situation, and are taking steps to dismantle this.
We want to stand with those who are striving for a real change and against oppression, racism, injustice and inequality. We believe it is important to take concrete action as well as standing in solidarity.
At this particular time our actions include: sharing resources so that we can continue to educate ourselves about the issues. Highlighting social media accounts will inevitably miss many out, but here are a (very) few I follow to listen, support and learn: MuseumDetox, Natalie Morris, Jass Thethi, Ibram Kendi, Afua Hirsch, Angela Saini, Reni Eddo-Lodge, The Conscious Kid, gal-dem, Black Cultural Archives.
The job of being educated is ongoing. Again, there are very many resources out there but I’d like to recommend reading these practical and thought-provoking pieces from the last few days:
- Maatin Patel To White People, On Racism on Hope Not Hate
- Ayeisha Thomas-Smith in Vice on the relevance of Floyd’s murder in the UK,
- Yomi Adegoke on the risks of performative grief and ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ activism in Vogue.
Finally, if you haven’t yet listened to “About Race”, a podcast presented by Reno Eddo Lodge, I’d really recommend it.
For those with children, Black Curriculum is a social enterprise run by young black people challenging the lack of Black British history in the UK curriculum. There’s also this fantastic thread of books for children (US-focussed but excellent for kids here too) and another great book list for supporting conversations on race and racism with children, including short blurbs and recommended age ranges.
As individuals, we can donate to organisations in the front line of tackling racism. There are many groups who need support – some examples include UK Black Lives Matter fund and Hope Not Hate in the UK, and in the US Black Lives Matter and support for people arrested while peacefully protesting. Our team members are signing petitions and undertaking other lobbying in support of systemic change: Zing Tsjeng has a useful list.
If there are other ways you think we can become better allies and a better service, please let me know.