In solidarity – statement and resources

Update: October 2020

It has been more than four months since we issued our solidarity statement. As we said in our statement: “We must do more than just speak out. Structural racism manifests itself differently in different countries and contexts. Awareness, education and action is vital.”

Which is why we wanted to update you on how we are living our solidarity statement: 

Awareness 

  • We have introduced monthly check-ins on how we are living our solidarity statement at team meetings 
  • Renewed commitment to intersectionality – review of all committees, boards and teams

Education

  • Reinstigated Lunch and Learn – monthly sessions facilitated by an external expert with lived experience (paid monetary or in-kind) 
  • Introduced Lunch and Listen – monthly internal safe-space discussions for staff and volunteers 

Action 

  • Volunteer programme redesign – exploring accreditation for our volunteer programme, working with local universities and schools to encourage a more diverse cohort of volunteers. Plans to reach out to local community groups too. 
  • Trustee recruitment – committee set up and democratic process design for new trustee recruitment
  • Education committee diversification – recruitment of new members in process 
  • Youth Panel review – reviewing incentives for youth panel, including micro grants and funding opportunities 
  • Anonymous experience sharing mechanism for all staff and volunteers 

Original statement: June 2020

The Migration Museum stands in solidarity with black communities – in the US, the UK and worldwide.

Challenging racial inequality and discrimination and emphasising our common humanity is at the core of everything that we do. The recent events in the US and the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on BAME communities in many countries – in particular the UK – have brought to the world’s attention the need for real change in how we address structural racism and racial inequalities.

These are deeply troubling times for everyone. But for black people who visit us, who we work with and make up our team, and whose stories we are honoured to share, the current situation is heartbreaking. Museums and cultural institutions have an important role to play in recognising and challenging oppression, racism and injustice and highlighting issues that matter to our communities and audiences. We all can and should do more.

This is not a time to stay silent. It is only through speaking out and engaging that we can begin to move towards our vision of a diverse, tolerant and inclusive society that lives better together – not just on the topic of migration, but in all respects.

But we must do more than just speak out. Structural racism manifests itself differently in different countries and contexts. Awareness, education and action is vital.

Below, we’re sharing some resources that we hope might be helpful. But this list is only intended as a starting point – and we’d love to hear from you. If you have suggestions, please let us know in the comments below, by emailing us at info@migrationmuseum.org or on social media.

With so many heartbreaking images on both social and news media right now, we wanted to share some posts recognising and celebrating strength and resilience – as shared with us by some of our colleagues and friends.

And as we move towards and think about reopening, we’ll be keeping at the forefront of our minds how to best serve our communities. We’ll be sharing more details on our reopening plans and timings soon.

Resources

Here are some resources that we hope might be useful, informative and inspiring. This list is in no particular order and is intended merely as a helpful starting point. We’d love to hear from you about what you’ve been reading, watching and listening to. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

Online Social Media Resources – Under 5 minutes

What is antiracism? 
Why are so many black people feeling tired?

Articles and Online Resources 

The 1619 Project
The Case For Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Privilege – Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
Talking About Race – The National Museum of African American History and Culture
Systemic racism and police brutality are British problems too – Kojo Koram
The American Nightmare – Ibram X. Kendi
Do the work: an anti-racist reading list – Layla F Saad
11 Things to Do Besides Say ‘This Has To Stop’ In The Wake Of Police Brutality
What Black America Means to Europe by Gary Younge
Black Britain Matters – The Guardian
103 Things White People can do for Racial Justice 
Impact of Covid-19 on BAME people

Museum & Workplace Specific Resources
Black Lives Matter Charter for the UK Heritage & Culture sector – Culture&
Professionalism in the age of black death 
Psychological safety in times of political trauma 

Educational Resources
7 Actions to Change the History Curriculum – Runnymede Trust
Talking About Race – The National Museum of African American History and Culture
Our Migration Story: The Making of Britain
The social and economic impact of slave ownership on British society – BBC Bitesize
The story of Black migrants in England in Tudor times – BBC Bitesize
10 TED classroom resources about race in America – TEDEd
Black History timeline – The Guardian
Lockdown Lectures – Professor David Olusoga
Lockdown Lectures – Professor Gary Younge

Books

We encourage you to support local, black-owned bookshops where possible. Most of these are also available as audiobooks and ebooks.
How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo Lodge
The Good Immigrant – edited by Nikesh Shukla
The Good Immigrant USA – edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
Black and British: A Forgotten History – David Olusoga
There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack – Paul Gilroy
Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain – Peter Fryer
Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored – Jeffrey Boakye
Natives  – Akala
Brit(ish) – Afua Hirsch
Kill the Black One First – Michael Fuller
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah
Afropean: Notes from Black Europe – Johny Pitts
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
If They Come in the Morning… Voices of Resistance – edited by Angela Y. Davis
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work – Tiffany Jewell
The Clapback: Your Guide to Calling Out Racist Stereotypes – Elijah Lawal
How to Argue with a Racist – Adam Rutherford
“I Will Not Be Erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour – gal-dem
Memoirs of an Englishman – Paul Stephenson OBE
Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored – Jeffery Boakye
Me & White Supremacy – Layla F. Saad
White Privilege: The Myth of a post-racial Society
Diversify – June Sarpong
How to argue with a racist – Adam Rutherford 

Film, TV and Podcasts

I Am Not Your Negro
13th
Black and British: A Forgotten History
Sitting in Limbo
Code Switch
United States of Anxiety
Higher Learning

Akala: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire on Unfiltered with James O’Brien
Afua Hirsch with David Olusoga on The Penguin Podcast
Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
No Country for Young Women
We Need to Talk About the British Empire
Seeing Color

#Resilience

With so many heartbreaking images on both social and news media right now, we wanted to share some posts recognising and celebrating strength and resilience – as shared with us by some of our colleagues and friends. These are some of the many #Resilience stories that we’ve been sharing on social media over the past few weeks.

 

 

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Robyn’s story – “My Aunty Nancy came over to the UK from Uganda when she was 17 years old to train as a nurse in the NHS. The journey took two weeks by plane. She survived cancer and many other life challenges; and as her close family will tell you, neither hip operations, cataracts or cancer affected her natural elegance, her caring nature, or her gentle wit. . The first weekend of lockdown my Aunty Nancy passed away. She was the matriarch of our family – a mother, a grandmother, an aunt and a friend across generations. The hardest thing about losing someone in this time, is the inability to hug your family, and grieve together. But the Monday after, Aunty Nancy’s family pulled together a memorial service for her via Zoom. We had reverends from Uganda and the USA. The service was led by a family member in Connecticut. My aunty read the eulogy from Kampala, and hymns were sung in Luganda from Boston and beyond. My dad coordinated the technical side from Surrey, constantly re-muting the 100 participants to stop the noise of traffic, cows, sirens, and many, many, cries of ‘eh is this working’ interrupting the ceremony. . I was due to launch a public engagement campaign for the Migration Museum this week, to share stories of hope and resilience. When I pitched it to the team 2 weeks ago, it felt powerful but pretty abstract. I never share personal things online, I’m pretty cynical of social media having spent so much time on it for work. But there’s no ‘call to action’ for this campaign, no big ask, I just felt like I wanted to share Aunty Nancy’s story of resilience and for as many people to see it as possible.” . #resilience #nhs #AllOurStories

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Gemma’s story – “I’m writing this having just dropped off home made Trinidadian curry, rice & peas, roti & pineapple chow to my Nan who turned 88 today, as a birthday treat (via a distance). Cooking has been one of the main things keeping me sane during lockdown. She turned up at the door dressed to the nines, blasting soca and dancing, grinning ear to ear despite the fact she’s been isolating alone for the past 6 weeks. My Nan’s love of all things Trini, and perhaps her ability to smile even in the middle of a storm, stem from her 60 year marriage to my Grandad, Wak-Yeong, who was half Trini, half Chinese. They met after he moved to London from Trinidad in the 1950s, to work as a musician in clubs and hotels all over the city. My Nan had left her British husband in Trinidad after moving there with him, falling in love with the island, but out of love with him….serendipity you might say! . They have both been my strength and resilience at many points in my life, having heard stories and been privy to the struggles they have faced being a mixed race couple in the UK when that still wasn’t acceptable. My Nan said people used to spit on her washing when she would hang it out in the flats where they lived, and her mum was furious with her for having “a half caste baby”. My grandparents’ ability to laugh in the face of adversity and to smile even in the most difficult times, is something that I try hard to remember when I’m faced with the same.” . #resilience #AllOurStories

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Jason’s story – “I suppose what gets me up and out, what gets me through, what pushes me to stay motivated and resilient is the balance between memory, a sense of purpose, and gratitude. I am constantly reminding myself that my ancestors went through far worse conditions than I to achieve great things. Just as normal, everyday people, raising families and holding down jobs – working hard to just be a part of society – and living their lives. From educators and artists to factory and railway workers, to musicians and pillars of society, there are stories from my historical memory that feed me, that have been told down through the years to me that keep me going. . What else keeps me resilient is a sense of purpose. I was raised by two individuals who’s life’s missions were to help and serve their communities. I was brought up believing that we are all in this together and that we must use our privilege, no matter how small, to help people. That sense of purpose has gone into every professional decision I have made and seeps into the micro-decisions of every day. At times like these, this sense of purpose acts as an added push to get out of bed and start the day. I am keeping this sense of purpose, of service, of benevolence as I make sense of the “new normal.” . As we come out of this we will be changed. But if we keep community and those less fortunate than us at the front of our minds in our actions and choices, we can truly make the world a better place. Last, I remain thankful for the benefits I have been given. And my pessimism is quickly outweighed by the fact that I have so much privilege. I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people doing great things and with such tremendous talent. And thankful to have people in my life that love me and check in on me. It encourages me to do the same – spread that love and check in on others. . Gratitude is important to me because it helps keep me humble as the world changes around us. And it helps me be faithful that those in power will change with the times and make better choices to ensure all people are cared for and that purpose and people come before profit and power.” . #resilience #AllOurStories

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