The RACE Working Group is in solidarity with all those resisting the violent upholding of white supremacy around the world. We mourn the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all those killed by anti-Black violence – state-sanctioned and extrajudicial – all over the world. We also mourn the death of Belly Mujinga, along with all other Black, Indigenous and People of Colour taken by Covid-19, in the UK and around the world. We stand in solidarity with all anti-racist agendas, as we have done since our inception.
We acknowledge and appreciate the statement of solidarity issued by the RGS-IBG, as well as the Society’s renewed commitments to support anti-racist work. However, it is our firm view that commitments to anti-racism and transformative racial justice must be centered within all Society agendas. Just as injustices and inequalities run through all areas of the Society’s work, any responses must be similarly all-encompassing.
The RACE Group has and is prepared to support the RGS-IBG in this work. Alongside this, however, we stress that we continue to have our own priorities for our intellectual and other work, and as a small Working Group, our capacities and bandwidth are necessarily limited. We also emphasise that individual members of the Race Group are already doing a great deal within their own institutions in order to advance racial justice, as well as the emotional labour of supporting their Black colleagues and students. As such, we are anxious that any sustained move towards anti-racist work within the Society does not come at the expense of already over-burdened BME members of the Group, particularly given the additional pressures from Covid-19.
We believe that our present moment is a historic one that could usher in radical change. As such, we issue this statement with a desire for new, concrete measures with a view to enacting transformative racial justice within the RGS, as well as all other institutions that engage with it. We welcome a response from and dialogue with the Society on all the above registers.