Black Lives Matter

Author: Ash Mann

At Substrakt, we have been discussing how we can usefully and appropriately respond to and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place both here in the UK and in the USA.

There are no black people currently working at Substrakt and we have not publicly made anti-racism pronouncements before, so to do so now felt like it could be perceived as disingenuous.

There was also a frank admission from many of the team that they did not feel educated enough to be able to say anything informed.

However what did become clear was that to say nothing was no longer an option.

To say nothing is to implicitly support oppression. This should not be a partisan issue, this is a human rights issue. We have a responsibility to stand up against racism.

So we say clearly: We are anti-racist.

As a British-Asian man whose father came to this country from India when he was 6 years old I have some sense of the structural racism that pervades many aspects of the UK.

However I am not black, I have not faced anywhere near the levels of violence and discrimination the black community suffers in almost every walk of life.

And the sector we specialise in, that we spend most of our time talking with and to, the cultural sector, is far too white, and has many of its own issues when it comes to representation and meaningful engagement with communities who have suffered from discrimination.

As does the sector that we come from, the tech sector, another overwhelming white (and male) world.

Does that need to change? Absolutely.

Is it going to be easy to change that? No. Have we done enough to change that? Also no.

So when asking ourselves how we can be useful, how we can support, how we can do something meaningful the answer seemed to be twofold; to better educate ourselves so that we can properly engage with these issues, and to support and amplify the voices and initiatives of those who are trying to make meaningful change.

Below are some, we hope, useful links, that at least begin to start doing that:

This list is not exhaustive, there are many more resources out there, they aren’t difficult to find.

There is much more we can, and will, be doing at Substrakt. As well as ensuring we educate ourselves we have donated to the causes outlined above.

We are also asking how we can proactively begin to positively affect change in the diversity of our team, and the sector we work in. We welcome suggestions and advice on both these fronts, we do not have all the answers but we want to learn and be better.

And finally I want to say, in the knowledge that I speak for all of the team at Substrakt, we stand in solidarity with the Black community. We have a responsibility to speak out against racism and inequality. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves about this issue, and to do what we can to challenge and change it.

We may not have used all the right words here today but felt a responsibility to say something, to do something.