Dismantling white privilege and systemic racism from the roots

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The death of George Floyd happened almost 2 weeks ago now and since, there have been huge protests across the world in support of #blacklivesmatter making it the largest civil rights protest in history. We as black people want change, we want the people to hear us and this is our way of doing that. This is not just a problem for the USA. As we all know Britain have major issues also. We need to bring systemic racism to the surface and expose the organisations and companies that have been and continue to be guilty of this by turning a blind eye or making it ‘normal policies’. The fact that so many people are unaware of white privilege, black history, police brutality and the different types of racism that exist is not down to individuals. It can’t be. 
My belief is that it is down to education. Why are our educational institutes not doing more to enhance the lives of the students walking through their doors by building a culture of anti-racist individuals to release into the world when they leave? What is your local school, college, university doing about it? Have they even acknowledged the situation the world is currently in? Have they released a statement about what changes they are going to make or that they even support their own students throughout this time?  
Go and take a look at the social media pages of your local schools, colleges and universities. Amongst the many accounts I have looked through, I can safely say it is embarrassing. Even the institutes that have a high percentage of a BAME cohort have stayed silent! What does that say to you at a time when leadership is needed? 
We want you to be proactive, we want honesty but most of all, we want to see you step up and make changes for a better future we can be proud of. 
For issues to be escalated further in parliament, it is very important to put pressure on them and we can only do this together! So I have drafted an email template below that anyone can use. 
All that we ask is that you share your responses with us at Expressive Shades on social media or with an email to expressiveshades@gmail.com. 
To: Your local MP /Head school governor / Headteacher 
Subject: Global Racism Pandemic 
Dear (Your local MP/governor/head), 
I am writing to you in regards to the current national and global pandemic - racism.  
Times like these highlight the huge gap in our education curriculum and how we are letting down our children. Whilst some areas of racism are taught through a historical view, the education curriculum fails to recognise the ongoing battle that is still prevalent within our society now. We have a responsibility to educate young people to be actively, not passively, anti-racist and this involves action from you. This means action at an individual, local and national level. This doesn’t just apply to schools with a BAME population. This applies to all educational establishments. 
The major contributions of black people to Britain, their presence and experiences should not be side-lined to 31 days out of 365! Covering slavery in History for a few lessons, running activities such as a poster competition, serving Caribbean and African food in the canteens and a dance performance from some students in assemblies to pass off as Black History Month and ‘tick the box’ is not enough. That’s too easy and some schools unfortunately don’t even engage in that. 
We can sign petitions and put pressure on the government to make changes from above but you can start to implement change immediately and I am urging you to do so.  
Have open discussions with your board, your staff, the whole faculty. Look at who sits on your board, the staff you employ and what story you are telling your students as a result of that. Engage with your students. If you have a student council, do you have black representation? Do you have an equality & diversity lead within your school? Look at your employees, board members / governors. Do you have black representation?
Together with your students and staff develop an action plan on how you can start to create a generation of anti-racist individuals. Challenge your staff to diversify their lessons in subjects such as PSHE, History, English, Music, Art & Drama to be more representative of a diverse population, addressing white privilege and systemic racism. These are just a few examples of the ways you can start to generate and be a part of the change required.  
I also encourage you to address this issue with the Secretary of State for Education, Mr Gavin Williamson, to demand these topics are implemented as a mandatory part of the school curriculum in order to create a more equal & equitable society and for a positive change in the future. We need to actively tackle and discuss these issues at the roots through an organised, mandatory educational experience rather than relying on generational change to drift towards racial equality and a deeper understanding of these issues. 
I challenge you to lead from the front, show others how you will make the difference and set an example for others to follow. 
I look forward to your reply to acknowledge receipt of this letter and reading your action plan sent out to all employees, parents and people of your community with the positive changes you intend to make.  
This is a call to action which is well overdue! 
Yours sincerely, 
(Insert your name) 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and hope that by sharing this, we can make a positive change together. 

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