‘This time, it feels different’: NWC’s Anti-racism and Activism Panel

“This time, it feels different… from police taking the knee outside Downing Street to football players wearing BLM on their shirts…This isn’t just an issue about black people, everyone’s getting involved and taking responsibility. ” Shamsher

We were delighted to host an online panel about anti-racism activism as part of our ‘Power to the Women’ workshop series on the evening of 15th July. Our volunteer Jalela and Policy officer Katie were joined by Shamsher from Communities Inc, Janelle from Next Gen Movement and Hannah from Nottingham Refugee Forum for a live streamed discussion about Black Lives Matter and the recent surge in anti-racism activism. A recording of the panel can be viewed here.

We talked about the Black Lives Matter movement so far, what it’s like being a woman campaigner and how we sustain anti-racism activism in Nottingham. Around 50 people watched the live stream and the video has since been viewed around 1700 times. We’ve had some great feedback from attendees, including; “awesome panel and facilitation. Thank you so much for all the work you are doing” and “Great event. What an inspiring panel. Thank you”.

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Some key quotes

“The most memorable part of the Black Lives Matter Demonstration was looking out into the crowd and seeing people of all ages, races, backgrounds. It was a really united day…it was amazing to see so many people supporting Black Lives Matter, including people who were white, Asian, Kurdish. It was really empowering” Janelle

“The defining moment (of Black Lives Matter) for me was the bringing down of the Colston statue in Bristol. It broadened the discussion so much… it started off this ripple effect that can’t be stopped” Shamsher

“I think it’s important that women stick together… If you see someone being sexist, speak out.” Janelle

“Women from Nottingham Refugee Forum are already experiencing multiple layers of discrimination. They will potentially see activist spaces as unsafe or ‘not for them’ because there aren’t people from the same background, or they’re not supported or they’ve previously had bad experiences so they don’t trust it will be safe. There are lots of barriers… language barriers, accessibility issues, not being able to afford bus fare or issues around confidence.” Hannah

“We need to change what’s normal in public spaces. If someone’s being harassed, it should be the norm that we ask questions and intervene. But this change isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to require people to be persistent and for white people to be engaged. Do something, don’t be afraid and ask questions. We need white people to raise their voices because sometimes their voices are more easily heard.” Shamsher

“We recognise that the charity sector has a long history of institutional racism and as an organisation we’ve committed to working with Charity So White, which is PoC-led campaign group. It’s rooted in the experiences of people of colour’s experiences of working in the charity sector…we’re committed to working through Charity So White’s action plans.” Hannah

“The main starting point is for everyone to educate themselves. There are so many books, documentaries, resources online. When you’ve educated yourself, you can educate other people, so it’s a snowball effect.” Jalela

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Organisations and campaigns mentioned during the talk:

Nottingham Against Racism

A grassroots movement in Nottingham that meets every week in different areas in Nottingham and provides an open mic to people who want to speak about racism, politics and what’s going on in the world right now: https://www.facebook.com/Nottinghamunitedagainstracism

Black Minds Matter

Black Minds Matter U.K connect Black individuals and families with free professional mental health services: https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/

Charity So White

#CharitySoWhite is a campaign group led by people of colour that’s tackling institutional racism in the charity sector: https://charitysowhite.org/

Stand by Me

‘Stand by Me’ is a campaign and community training project by Communities Inc that empowers members of the public to intervene if they witness bullying, harassment or hate crime: http://communitiesinc.org.uk/ourwork/stand-by-me/

Patients Not Passports

A campaign that’s advocating for people experiencing immigration checks when trying to access health care and upfront charges from the NHS: https://patientsnotpassports.co.uk/

The Black Curriculum

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum. They provide teacher training and campaigns to change the national curriculum and mobilise young people: https://www.theblackcurriculum.com/

Nottingham Women’s Centre statement and resources on BLM

We’ve collated a list of resources and written a statement in support of BLM Movement:

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We would like to thank everyone who joined us for our Power to the Women live stream and give a huge thank you to our amazing panelists. Please follow them on social media and get active in the fight against racism.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for future panel topics you would like to see, please email ka[email protected] For more information about Nottingham Women’s Centre social media channels, click here: https://linktr.ee/nottinghamwomenscentre

Please note, there’s another anti-racism demonstration from 12pm on Saturday 15th August. There will be a variety of speeches in Old Market Square followed by a protest to Radford Road Police Station and HMP Nottingham against institutional racism in the criminal justice system: https://www.facebook.com/events/1522407167939893/