On #blackouttuesday and always, we continue to show support for our black community at Newcastle University and beyond. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at our University and across our campus, we work hard to promote an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone in our community.
In light of Black Lives Matter and the ongoing George Floyd case, our Students' Union Welfare and Equality Officer has shared some important resources to support not only caring for yourself as a black student but also how you can be proactively anti-racist as a non-black ally.
It’s never too late to cultivate change, empathy and education. To be better and do better.
Self-care Tips for Black Students
1. It's OK to say no
You may be asked to answer questions or be a spokesperson on black issues. That is a choice that should always be afforded by you, so its OK to say no and allow others to talk about these issues if you are uncomfortable or feel overwhelmed.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, our Student Health and Well-being support services remain available and are now being delivered remotely by telephone or video call.
2. Feel supported by others around you
Building a community of other people who relate to your lived experiences is vital at this time. There is a support session being run for black Newcastle students only on Monday 8th June at 4pm, feel free to come along to speak out about your experiences.
To learn more on how you can get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Social Media can be a difficult place
Just because more non-black allies are speaking out against racism doesn't mean you have to engage with it. It can be overwhelming and it is OK to take a break and switch off for hours or days.
For any well-being and advice on "switching off", you can always speak to NUSU's Student Advice Centre or get involved in NUSU’s Covid 19 Student Community, NUSU's Book Club, virtual events from across the city and much more.
4. Practice self-care
Take time to pause, relax and register some of the horrific events that are actually occurring. Prioritise yourself and your mental health and do things to allow you to de-stress. Currently, our Students' Union has launched the mental health campaign, 'Permission to Pause'. The campaign is designed to help students through the stressful summer exam season, with free exercise and activity classes and self-care tips to support you this May/June. Getting involved in their activities and self-care tips may be a great place to start. For more information on this, you can visit their website or contact email@example.com.
Please note that this campaign is ending on 5th June, however, there are plenty of activities you can get involved in via the Covid-19 Student Community group as noted above or our Student's Union is also hosting a virtual 'Boom Toon' festival from 5th-7th June which will involve some talks about activism. It is free to join and will include arts, music, key note speakers and exercise classes!
A message from NUSU's Welfare & Equality Officer
Education for Non-Black Allies
The UK is not an innocent nation. It is important for all non-black individuals to educate themselves on black history and the instances of systematic racism not only across the globe, but also on our doorsteps.
1. Do your research.
You don't need black people to educate you, and please don't expect that of them. This is a really difficult time for black people. There are hundreds of books, TV shows, films, articles to read to educate yourself.
See the end of this blog post to access materials.
2. Use whatever means you have to take an active stand against racism
There's no right or wrong way to do this- whether this is signing petitions against police brutality, sharing things about white privilege on social media or going on organised (safe) protests. It's time to speak out.
3. Ensure you are considerate with your posts
Sharing graphic videos of police brutality and riots can be really triggering for black students and it's important to post these with caution (e.g. trigger warnings). Although sharing helps awareness, think of others before you post.
4. Be authentic
Don't try and overshare or follow trends if you don't understand them yourself. It's much better to take time and learn in private then rush into sharing - which can come across as aesthetic solidarity more than being an authentic ally. Learning about privilege and racism is a journey, so be prepared for that.
5. Reach out
Just a simple "I hope you're okay" or "I can't relate to your pain but I'm here for a chat" is important. The content being shared can be traumatic, emotional and overwhelming for black people and it's important to be emotionally available for black people at this time. Use whatever means you have to take an active stand against racism.
Looking for Ways to Educate Yourself?
Our Students' Union have pulled together a list of important content and useful materials including literature, films, TV shows and podcasts. All literature links below can be accessed via Newcastle University Library Search with your student log-in.
"Racism and the press" Teun A. van Dijk (2015)
"This bridge called my back : writings by radical women of color" Cherríe Moraga; Gloria Anzaldúa (1983)
"The next American revolution sustainable activism for the twenty-first century" Grace Lee Boggs. Scott Kurashige (2012)
"The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness" Michelle Alexander (2010)
"I know why the caged bird sings" Maya Angelou (1928)
"Beyond redistribution White supremacy and racial justice" Kevin M. Graham (2010)
"Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race" Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)
"Their eyes were watching god" Zora Neale Hurston
"Heavy: An American Memoir" Kiese Laymon
"White Fragility" Robin Diangelo, PHD
When They See Us Netflix
American Son Kenny Leon, Netflix
Dear White People Justin Simien
See You Yesterday Netflix, Stefon Bristol
1619 New York Times
Pod Save The People Crooked Media
Further Support Services
For any student seeking support, our Students' Union's dedicated Welfare and Equality Officer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Racial Equality Officer at email@example.com. You can also find more BAME student resources and support here.
Similarly, for those seeking urgent advice, our 24-hour security team can be reached on 0191 208 6817 and our Well-being Services are available on 0191 208 3333 for anyone looking for counselling and support.