How has Southampton continued to support the BLM movement after its march?
The protests continue to make a difference
The Black Lives Matter protests started on 3rd May 2020 in London, which saw thousands turn up for peaceful demonstrations against the ongoing racism black people are facing all over the world. The initial BLM protest began following the murder of George Floyd, whose life was taken by a white police officer in Minneapolis. His murder has resulted in the most widespread racial turbulence and civil unrest since the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, resulting in his death on the 25th May, is facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with three other white officers who were present during his murder, are facing charges with aiding and abetting the killing. Before the protests, none of these police officers were facing charges, showing the impact the protests have made.
Southampton followed in London’s example, protesting outside Guildhall Square on 3rd June. Over a month on, and with very limited news coverage on the ongoing protests in London, many are questioning whether protests are still taking place and if they are, whether they are having any impact.
Due to the coronavirus, there has been criticism towards the protests with a fear that there will be an increase in positive cases leading the country to go back into lockdown. So why then, with the potential of an increased spike in coronavirus cases are the protests important?
After Southampton’s protest in June, Southampton is still showing its support to support the movement.
Following the racist remarks from an ex-Southampton FC stewardess, Beryl Saunders, who posted on Facebook that “We whites ARE the superior race”. Saunders has received a life ban after refusing to apologise for her comments or undergo a racial awareness training course.
BLM Southampton is doing their part to support the movement, currently working on becoming a formal organisation, building partnerships with Southampton University, Southampton Solent, Southampton Football Club and many more. As well as looking to build their black business directory making buying black easy and accessible.
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Southampton University tweeted a thread on Twitter, showing it’s support for the BLM movement.
The University of Southampton stands firmly against racism and violence towards members of the black and minority ethnic community both at our University and across the globe.
— University of Southampton (@unisouthampton) June 3, 2020
Despite receiving a number of positive comments for speaking on the issue, the thread received backlash with the Mayflower FC video resurfacing, which saw University of Southampton students being filmed singing racist slurs on a social. An investigation concluded that no racial slurs were said.
A petition was created last month asking the University of Southampton to do more to tackle racism. The petition has drawn on the Mayflower FC incident and comes after students have accused the uni of being “performative” and “disingenuous” in its response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Soton Black Student’ Network has called for all University of Southampton societies and clubs to sign and commit to an anti-racism charter.
Southampton’s support towards the BLM movement demonstrates the number of different ways people can support the movement without protesting, which is especially important during a pandemic.
Featured image credit: Evie Playfoot-Orme