It is not enough to release a statement merely denouncing the violence enacted on Black individuals, to say that we oppose the systematic racism that permeates throughout all levels of our society, to announce that we stand with those fighting against this injustice.
It is not enough to claim to be allies.
We need to look at our own organisation and see what steps we can take to dismantle racial oppression. Although the Union as a whole is its members and seeks to represent the diversity of membership, the current NUBSLI committee is made up entirely of white members.
We acknowledge the privilege that our skin colour has afforded us throughout our personal and professional lives. The committee recognise that we need to reflect more on how to make taking on a role within NUBSLI a safe and encouraging option for our non-white members.
We also need to explore what action NUBSLI can do to support the Black Lives Matter movement within the boundaries of a Trade Union.
Historically NUBSLI has supported social justice movements by sourcing and arranging interpretation to ensure that any actions are accessible for Deaf BSL users, organising Signing Stewards for demonstrations and encouraging members to take part in marches. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis impacts our ability to do this.
We cannot publicly encourage members to take part in mass gatherings at this time, whether as an interpreter or a participant. Nonetheless, we recognise that many of our members may make the decision to take part, therefore we will be posting a series of resources relating to keeping safe at peaceful protests and your rights during these events.
The committee will continue to discuss alternative options of expressing solidarity. However we urge any members to contact us with comments regarding how NUBSLI should be responding. We recognise that we need to do better.
If you are attending a peaceful protest it’s important to know your rights
Here is some advice from Green and Black Cross, Manchester.
We would also encourage members to download their ‘bust card’ and carry it with them.
Thank you to Ellen Clifford from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) for this advice.