Blog Archive

Thursday, 28 August 2014

SUPPORT GROWS TO STOP THE HUMAN ZOO - WHITE PRIVILEGE IS NOT ART


The campaign to stop the racist human zoo exhibition, Exhibit B due to take place at the Barbican 23 to 27 September, has gained almost nine thousand signatures in just over a week and received national news coverage. Along with the petition's author, activist and journalist Sara Myers and BARAC UK, the campaign is supported by a broad range of community campaigners & organisations, including Operation Black Vote (OBV) as well as Unite the Union who have members working at The Barbican.
BARAC and others have been in dialogue with The Barbican but so far they have refused to withdraw as hosts of the exhibition disregarding our concerns and claiming that the exhibition is a lesson in history. In fact they could not even be bothered to respond to the second communication BARAC sent them.  

The exhibition has been met with anger in other countries on its tour and it is clear from reports that the exhibition which is curated by Brett Bailey, a white South African, is for white audiences. This just makes it even worse that he has decided to exhibit the abuse, torture and murder of black people for a white audience. 
It is insulting that the exhibition objectifies black people and uses actors and actresses, many of them semi naked women, to enact the atrocities and abuses that black people have experienced through history, it includes black people placed in cages, an enslaved  woman shackled to a bed waiting to be raped, and an extradited man on an plane seat who died from suffocation. 


These are not scenes that black people need to see to understand the history of abuse and racism our ancestors experienced, we are still living with the legacy of racism every day, we are experiencing deepening racism in the UK and globally. In the UK austerity is amplying racism, institutional racism is deepening with the criminalisation of black communities yet the exhibition offers no solutions to the legacy of racism and the racism we face today.  White people visiting the exhibition who hold racist views are not likely to change them because of it, in fact we believe the exhibition will attract people who feel a sense of enjoyment in seeing black people on display in this way and will simply fuel racism. 



This insulting, racist exhibition cannot be excused by labelling it art any more than inciting racial hatred can be justified by claiming freedom of speech. Brett Bailey cannot use white privilege to claim an understanding of the black experience on the receiving end of racism.
Protests and activities are planned outside the Barbican and you will receive updates on these if you sign the petition or join the facebook page and event.

You can support the campaign by signing and sharing the petition: SIGN THE PETITION HERE
Sharing this email with your networks together with the petition and facebook event page below.

Joining the facebook event : FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE
Writing to The Barbican and Patrons of the Barbican to complain.
Providing us with a statement of support for the campaign from you / your organisation.




Saturday, 23 August 2014

OPPOSE THE RACIST HUMAN ZOO EXHIBITION AT THE BARBICAN CENTRE

 HUMAN ZOO IN LONDON THIS SEPTEMBER

The Barbican Centre in London are hosting a horrific  exhibition by  Brett Bailey, Third World, Bun Fight, Exhibit B in September. The exhibition is a human zoo, mimicking the Victorian style human zoo  displaying black people, using actors, as they were oppressed and subjected to racism and abuse in history. It is  highly offensive, insulting and racist.  To our knowledge The Barbican did nothing to engage with black communities in the UK and ask how they felt about the exhibition before agreeing to host it and the exhibition does nothing to promote race equality. 

 

BARAC UK is supporting the campaign opposing the exhibition and has written to The Barbican calling on them to cancel the exhibition, in their response The Barbican states:

'It provokes audiences to reflect on the historical roots of today's prejudices and policies and how these have been shaped over centuries.'

Yet it does nothing to challenge the racism that we experience today or to consider the impact on black communities of hosting the exhibition.

We don't believe that in order to remind people of the horrors of racism, enslavement, apartheid and colonial rule it is necessary to place black people in cages and put them on display in an exhibition and that this exhibition does nothing to promote race equality.  This is not art as is claimed by the curator of the exhibiton Brett Bailey.

Please sign the petition and send complaints to The Barbican.

https://www.change.org/p/barbican-withdraw-the-racist-exhibition-exhibit-b-the-human-zoo-from-showing-at-the-barbican-from-23rd-27th-september 

Friday, 18 July 2014

PRESS RELEASE: OPEN LETTER ABOUT RACISM TO POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS



BARAC UK PRESS RELEASE
18th of July 2014: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In response to growing concerns about racism in the UK, a group of organisations and individuals, which includes, Co-Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK,  Zita Holbourne,  today wrote to the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour party leaders about the  state of race equality and the impact on Black and Migrant communities.
Institutional racism is deepening in the UK, austerity is amplifying racism, impacting disproportionately on black, minority ethnic, migrant and deprived communities whilst the main political parties disregard our voices and concerns, scapegoating our communities and demonstrating that they do not see race equality as a priority.

Lee Jasper, Co-Chair of BARAC UK said:
"Institutional racism results in the wholesale denial of rights to millions of black and ethnic minority peoples, right across this country.  Austerity economics amplifies structural racism and outright discrimination.
Race has fallen off the British agenda and has become the policy pariah of a Government whose ideology renders them blind to racism. It’s our job to open their eyes"

Zita Holbourne, Co-Chair of BARAC UK said:
“Today is the United Nations Nelson Mandela International Day.  Nelson Mandela stood throughout his life for racial equality and justice. He stood against racism not just in South Africa but globally including here in the UK.  Instead of seeing progress we are seeing devastating attacks on Black workers, service users and communities leading to a daily deepening of race discrimination and disadvantage. Our voices must be heard and politicians and government have a responsibility and duty to act on our concerns and to create a society that is safe, fair and equal for all.”

ENDS

Contact: 
Tel: 07711 861660 or 07984181797
Twitter: @baracuk

Letters to Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband follow

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
 Prime Minister
 10 Downing Street
 London
 SW1A 2AA

18 July 2014

Dear Mr. Cameron,

We are proud to live in a diverse Britain. Our society is more vibrant, dynamic and creative: our lives and values are richer for it.  It is the reason behind London’s commercial success and why we secured the 2012 Olympics.
How quickly pride turns to shame.
  We are now deeply worried about race relations,  the rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, which are fuelled by the open disdain shown by many politicians for policies which promote a more equal and inclusive society. We are ashamed of:-

          ‘Go home’ immigration vans
          the vilification of migrant workers
          the persistent linking of Muslim communities with violent extremism
          the ‘British’ values agenda
          institutional tolerance of celebrity racism
          the refusal of political leaders to challenge hostile attitudes to particular sections of the black and other minority ethnic communities.

The reins on racist behaviour have been loosened: anti-immigrant and Islamophobic fervour, propagated by certain sections of the media and some politicians are in danger of unwittingly – and at times wittingly - inciting racial hatred. It is now open season for racists.

There is an Equality and Human Rights Commission, but it is silent, weak, aloof and ineffective. There is a Government Equalities Office but it has no vision for an inclusive society beyond women on boards. There are political leaders but no leadership. 

This toxic environment is damaging British society and, potentially, its international reputation. We urge you to take immediate action to avoid serious harm to community relations by:

          a commitment not to use the politics of ‘difference’ to marginalise communities
          the release of the GEO Programme Fund to projects which promote good relations
          a manifesto commitment to implementing a race and good relations strategy
          restoring the power to promote good relations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and ensuring that the EHRC uses its powers effectively.
Above all, we ask you not to choke the voice of reason and tolerance.

And, in case you think we do not matter, remember that the ethnic minority vote matters in key marginal constituencies.


Yours sincerely,

Organisations
Zita Holbourne Co-Founder, BARAC
Belfast Migrant Centre
Joy Warmington, CEO, Birmingham Race Action Partnership
Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network
Tony Lindsay Project Manager, CHESS
Serah Kimuyu, Advice and Support Officer, Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC)
Professor Nira Yuval Davis, Director, The Centre for Research on Migration Refugees and Belonging, University of East London
Sarah Soyei, Head of Partnerships,  EqualiTeach
Karen Chouhan Founder and Director Equanomics UK
Sameena Choudry Founder, Equitable Education
Chris Whitwell Director, Friends, Families and Travellers
Kamaljeet Jandu, National Officer, GMB
Robin Richardson Director, Insted Consultancy
Liz Fekete Executive Director, Institute of Race Relations
Ratna Lachman Director JUST West Yorkshire
Peter Williams, Chair, Kingsgate Community Centre
Don Flynn, Director, Migrant Rights Network
Suresh Grover Founder and Director,The Monitoring Group
Patrick Yu, Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities,
Paul Crofts, Vice Chair, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Janie Codona MBE One Voice 4 Travellers Ltd
Simon Woolley, Director, Operation Black Vote
Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race On The Agenda
Omar Khan, Director, The Runnymede Trust
Peter Herbert, Chair, The Society of Black Lawyers


Individuals
Olu Alake
Mohammed Aziz                           
Maud Blair
Ralph Braunholtz              
Liz Brooker  
Barbara Cohen
Dr. Tony Cotton
Dr. Jacqui Cousins                         
Lindsay Edkins
Angela Crum Ewing                      
Alison Graham
John Haywood
Ibrahim Hashi Jama          
Makbool Javaid                             
Saleema Karim       
Jane Lane                             
Harmesh Lakhanpaul OBE          
Esther Maynard,
Mahalia France Mir
Rehana Minhas                              
Sarah McMurchie 
Leander Neckles                
Graham O’Neill
Brenda Parkes        
Phil Pavey    
Constantia Pennie                         
Professor Andy Pilkington          
Anthony Robinson                        
Pamela Strangman           
Professor Sally Tomlinson

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA   

18 July 2014

Dear Mr Clegg,


We are proud to live in a diverse Britain. Our society is more vibrant, dynamic and creative: our lives and values are richer for it.  It is the reason behind London’s commercial success and why we secured the 2012 Olympics.

How quickly pride turns to shame.
 
We are now deeply worried about race relations,  the rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, which are fuelled by the open disdain shown by many politicians for policies which promote a more equal and inclusive society. We are ashamed of:-

          ‘Go home’ immigration vans
          the vilification of migrant workers
          the persistent linking of Muslim communities with violent extremism
          the ‘British’ values agenda
          institutional tolerance of celebrity racism
          the refusal of political leaders to challenge hostile attitudes to particular sections of the black and other minority ethnic communities.
The reins on racist behaviour have been loosened: anti-immigrant and Islamophobic fervour, propagated by certain sections of the media and some politicians are in danger of unwittingly – and at times wittingly - inciting racial hatred. It is now open season for racists.
There is an Equality and Human Rights Commission, but it is silent, weak, aloof and ineffective. There is a Government Equalities Office but it has no vision for an inclusive society beyond women on boards. There are political leaders but no leadership. 
This toxic environment is damaging British society and, potentially, its international reputation. We urge you to take immediate action to avoid serious harm to community relations by:

          a commitment not to use the politics of ‘difference’ to marginalise communities
          the release of the GEO Programme Fund to projects which promote good relations
          a manifesto commitment to implementing a race and good relations strategy
          restoring the power to promote good relations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and ensuring that the EHRC uses its powers effectively.
Above all, we ask you not to choke the voice of reason and tolerance.

And, in case you think we do not matter, remember that the ethnic minority vote matters in key marginal constituencies.


Yours sincerely,

Organisations
Zita Holbourne, Co-Founder, BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts)
Belfast Migrant Centre
Joy Warmington, CEO, Birmingham Race Action Partnership
Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network
Tony Lindsay, Project Manager, CHESS (Cambridgeshire Human Rights and Equality Support Service)
Serah Kimuyu, Advice and Support Officer, CSREC (Central Scotland Regional Equality Council)
Professor Nira Yuval Davis, Director, The Centre for Research on Migration Refugees and Belonging, University of East London
Sarah Soyei, Head of Partnerships,  EqualiTeach
Karen Chouhan, Founder and Director, Equanomics UK
Sameena Choudry,Founder, Equitable Education
Chris Whitwell, Director, Friends, Families and Travellers
Kamaljeet Jandu, National Officer, GMB
Robin Richardson, Director, Insted Consultancy
Liz Fekete, Executive Director, Institute of Race Relations
Ratna Lachman, Director, JUST West Yorkshire
Peter Williams, Chair, Kingsgate Community Centre
Don Flynn, Director, Migrant Rights Network
Suresh Grover, Founder and Director, The Monitoring Group
Paul Crofts, Vice Chair, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Patrick Yu, Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities,
Janie Codona MBE, One Voice 4 Travellers Ltd
Simon Woolley, Director, Operation Black Vote
Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race On The Agenda
Omar Khan, Director, The Runnymede Trust
Peter Herbert, Chair, The Society of Black Lawyers

Individuals
Olu Alake
Mohammed Aziz
Maud Blair
Ralph Braunholtz
Liz Brooker
Barbara Cohen
Dr. Tony Cotton
Dr. Jacqui Cousins
Lindsay Edkins
Angela Crum Ewing
Alison Graham
John Haywood
Ibrahim Hashi Jama
Makbool Javaid
Saleema Karim
Jane Lane
Harmesh Lakhanpaul OBE
Esther Maynard,
Mahalia France Mir
Rehana Minhas
Sarah McMurchie
Leander Neckles
Graham O’Neill
Brenda Parkes
Phil Pavey
Constantia Pennie
Professor Andy Pilkington
Anthony Robinson
Pamela Strangman
Professor Sally Tomlinson
The Rt. Hon. Edward Miliband MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
18 July 2014

Dear Mr Miliband,

We are proud to live in a diverse Britain. Our society is more vibrant, dynamic and creative: our lives and values are richer for it.  It is the reason behind London’s commercial success and why we secured the 2012 Olympics.
How quickly pride turns to shame.
  We are now deeply worried about race relations,  the rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, which are fuelled by the open disdain shown by many politicians for policies which promote a more equal and inclusive society. We are ashamed of:-

          ‘Go home’ immigration vans
          the vilification of migrant workers
          the persistent linking of Muslim communities with violent extremism
          the ‘British’ values agenda
          institutional tolerance of celebrity racism
          the refusal of political leaders to challenge hostile attitudes to particular sections of the black and other minority ethnic communities.
The reins on racist behaviour have been loosened: anti-immigrant and Islamophobic fervour, propagated by certain sections of the media and some politicians are in danger of unwittingly – and at times wittingly - inciting racial hatred. It is now open season for racists.
There is an Equality and Human Rights Commission, but it is silent, weak, aloof and ineffective. There is a Government Equalities Office but it has no vision for an inclusive society beyond women on boards. There are political leaders but no leadership. 
This toxic environment is damaging British society and, potentially, its international reputation. We urge you to take immediate action to avoid serious harm to community relations by:

          a commitment not to use the politics of ‘difference’ to marginalise communities
          the release of the GEO Programme Fund to projects which promote good relations
          a manifesto commitment to implementing a race and good relations strategy
          restoring the power to promote good relations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and ensuring that the EHRC uses its powers effectively.
Above all, we ask you not to choke the voice of reason and tolerance.

And, in case you think we do not matter, remember that the ethnic minority vote matters in key marginal constituencies.


Yours sincerely,

Organisations
Zita Holbourne, Co-Founder, BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts)
Belfast Migrant Centre
Joy Warmington, CEO, Birmingham Race Action Partnership
Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network
Tony Lindsay, Project Manager, CHESS (Cambridgeshire Human Rights and Equality Support Service)
Serah Kimuyu, Advice and Support Officer, CSREC (Central Scotland Regional Equality Council)
Professor Nira Yuval Davis, Director, The Centre for Research on Migration Refugees and Belonging, University of East London
Sarah Soyei, Head of Partnerships,  EqualiTeach
Karen Chouhan, Founder and Director, Equanomics UK
Sameena Choudry,Founder, Equitable Education
Chris Whitwell, Director, Friends, Families and Travellers
Kamaljeet Jandu, National Officer, GMB
Robin Richardson, Director, Insted Consultancy
Liz Fekete, Executive Director, Institute of Race Relations
Ratna Lachman, Director, JUST West Yorkshire
Peter Williams, Chair, Kingsgate Community Centre
Don Flynn, Director, Migrant Rights Network
Suresh Grover, Founder and Director, The Monitoring Group
Paul Crofts, Vice Chair, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Patrick Yu, Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities,
Janie Codona MBE, One Voice 4 Travellers Ltd
Simon Woolley, Director, Operation Black Vote
Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race On The Agenda
Omar Khan, Director, The Runnymede Trust
Peter Herbert, Chair, The Society of Black Lawyers

Individuals
Olu Alake
Mohammed Aziz
Maud Blair
Ralph Braunholtz
Liz Brooker
Barbara Cohen
Dr. Tony Cotton
Dr. Jacqui Cousins
Lindsay Edkins
Angela Crum Ewing
Alison Graham
John Haywood
Ibrahim Hashi Jama
Makbool Javaid
Saleema Karim
Jane Lane
Harmesh Lakhanpaul OBE
Esther Maynard,
Mahalia France Mir
Rehana Minhas
Sarah McMurchie
Leander Neckles
Graham O’Neill
Brenda Parkes
Phil Pavey
Constantia Pennie
Professor Andy Pilkington
Anthony Robinson
Pamela Strangman
Professor Sally Tomlinson






Sunday, 1 June 2014

SUPPORT THE CALL FOR A BAN ON ASDA'S KU KLUX KLAN STYLE WEARABLE FLAG; SIGN THE PETITION

SIGN THE PETITION 

ASDA are disgracefully selling a wearable flag which resembles a Ku Klux Klan costume.  It is white and has a pointed hood with an England flag on the back of it. 



It has been pointed out to ASDA that a product they are stocking is offensive and racist but they have refused to stop selling it, have not apologised and have defended their decision to sell it. The flag which is like a cape is sold folded in a packet and described as a wearable England flag. On their website there is no photo showing what it looks like unfolded so it is misleading. Customers on purchasing it discovered that it is white with a pointed hood and resembles the attire of the Ku Kluk Klan. Despite this being pointed out to them they have refused to stop stocking it or even acknowledge the concerns raised.
The Ku Kluk Klan also known as 'The Hooded Order' are a racist, far right group founded in the USA in 1865, who believe in white supremacy and white nationalism. When the Civil Rights Movement developed in the USA during the 1950s and 60s they attacked, abused, tortured, bombed and murdered African American people, targetting those who were campaigning against segregation and for equal rights. They wear white robes and pointed hoods to hide their identity when carrying out their racist attacks and it is this attire that ASDA's wearable flag resembles.

Although the products were aimed at football fans ASDA should have considered that far right, fascist and racist groups in England have adopted the England flag as a symbol and whilst this is wrong, it was likely that they would be attracted to the wearable flag given it ressembles the attire of a well known far right, racist and fascist group like the Ku Kluk Klan.

Therefore it is shocking that the garments being sold by ASDA even passed production. It is of great concern that ASDA appear to have no robust equality proofing system of their products before they go on sale, that nobody considered the way they appear could cause offence, that they have misled customers by not demonstrating what the product would look like when worn, that they have completely disregarded customers concerns and complaints and have refused to stop stocking them. 
When concerns were raised  that the flag resembled a Ku Kluk Klan outfit a spokeswoman for  ASDA said 'we know there's chatter on twitter, but it's simply a flag with a hood, nothing more, nothing less'. this blatant disregard for concerns is disrespectful, insensitive and irresponsible. 
We call on ASDA to stop stocking  these wearable flags in their current form, to apologise for the offence they have caused, to refund customers who have been misled into purchasing the offensive items and to ensure equality proofing of their products in future.

We set up the petition in order to put pressure on ASDA to stop selling the offensive item on Saturday 31 May. By the same evening ASDA announced that individual store managers could refused to stock the item if they thought it would offend customers or if they received complaints.  So there's now an acknowledgment that there is a problem with the product but it's irresponsible of ASDA to leave it up to individual managers to decide when they could recall the item and stop selling it at all. 

Please sign the petition using the link above or click on the following link: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/andy-clarke-ceo-asda-ban-the-asda-ku-kluk-klan-style-wearable-flag


 


Monday, 28 April 2014

BABY-DEATH MOTHER’S FIGHT FOR EMPLOYMENT JUSTICE

Press Release

BABY-DEATH MOTHER’S FIGHT 
FOR EMPLOYMENT JUSTICE


When Gargi Bhattacharyya complained about how her employer treated her after the death of her baby, she didn’t expect to lose her job – but that’s what happened.

This week she is taking Aston University to employment tribunal for victimisation, sex discrimination and constructive dismissal.


Instead of sympathising with her situation, her employer began a campaign of character-assassination, designed to push her out of work.


When white colleagues said that they did not like or want to work with Professor Bhattacharyya, instead of tackling the harassment she experienced, the University created a new workplace policy which only applied to her in order to take action against her, whilst she was on maternity leave.


Professor Bhattacharyya said ‘I hope this case raises awareness of baby-death and helps us think about the rights of mothers who lose their babies. We don’t talk about what happens after a baby dies, but families have to carry on, and carrying on work is part of that. Employers have a responsibility to help that happen.’

 
Zita Holbourne, Co-Chair of BARAC UK said ‘It’s of great concern at a time when austerity and cuts are impacting disproportionately on Black women in the labour market, particularly the public sector, that Professor Bhattacharyya was victimised and forced out of her job, when her employer should have given her as much support as possible during what was a very difficult and sad period, mourning the death of her baby.’

 
A protest in support of bereaved mothers at work will take place 12pm to 2pm, Friday 2nd May, outside the Central London Employment Tribunal, 30-34 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6EX.


ENDS

Contact: BARAC UK
barac.info@gmail.com
Tel. 07711 861660

Friday, 14 March 2014