Let’s Not Be Performative Activists

Posted 11 January 2021
How have we been supporting marginalised groups?
Quite rightly, many marginalised communities are tired of seeing so-called allies only talk about their issues when it is high profile to do so. No one can just be an ally, it’s something we actively need to keep practicing and keep improving on.

Let’s Not Be Performative Activists

By Evie Kyte - President Inclusivity & Diversity

Quite rightly, many marginalised communities are tired of seeing so-called allies only talk about their issues when it is high profile to do so. No one can just be an ally, it’s something we actively need to keep practicing and keep improving on.

We need to allow ourselves to be called out, and allow ourselves to work harder.

In October, we themed Black History around ‘our journey’ focusing on the fact that black history and the liberation of black people should not just be confined to a single month. We need to acknowledge where we have gone wrong, and look forward to the future and what we can do right.

In November, we themed Disability History Month around ‘Access: How far have we come, how far have we got to go?’. We said passionately that issues in disabled people’s lives cannot just be put on the agenda for Disability History month and then forgotten.

You may be thinking, what have we done since these months? Are we really still working towards liberating marginalised groups all year round?

Firstly, thank you for asking.

Secondly, we’re holding ourselves accountable and telling you what we’ve been up to.

I will be keeping you regularly updated on how we as a Union are working towards the liberation of marginalised groups, and tackling discrimination.

Black students, Asian students and Minority Ethnicity Students

Is the term BAME outdated?

You have told us that you are uncomfortable with the term Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity, and the way that it groups together people with unique experiences and issues.

We’ve set up a consultation group to find out how we can best represent you, and use terminology and language that you are comfortable with.

Find out more here.

 Mental Health Campaign

Research has shown that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity students face unique mental health challenges due to a number of reasons. These include racism, being gaslighted about your experiences of discrimination and feeling like friends and professionals don’t appreciate your lived experience.

I’ve set up a survey and open forums to find out more about what the issues are in terms of the mental health care at the University of Hull, and the steps we can take to better meet your mental health needs. I’ve felt privileged to hear about your experiences, and learn what we can lobby the university to do to better meet your mental health needs.

Find out more here.

Disabled students

University Website

Your disabled students’ representative, Sarah-Marie told us there should be more information on the university website to help disabled students know more about support and activities in the local area.

We’re working with the university to update their support section of the university website.

Closed captions and transcripts

Your social mobility and class representative, Cas told us that closed captions and transcripts should be mandatory across all university and union audio content.

We’re making sure that all of our videos produced by the union have either closed captions or a transcripts accompanying them. We’re also working with the university inclusion team to find a way that we can make all university audio content have a good quality of closed captions and transcripts.

LGBT+ students

LGBT+ mental health

Research has shown that LGBT+ students face unique issues in terms of their mental health due to discrimination, disclosing their identity among many issues.

In February 2021, we will be producing a survey and open forum to ask how we can better meet the needs of LGBT+ students, and lobby the university to work on this.

Women Students

This Ends Now #TEN

Sexual assault and rape are never okay. It can happen to anyone, no matter gender identity, relationship status or anything else.

You told us that there is very little awareness around what consent means, and a lack of information about support for survivors of sexual assault and rape.

We’ve written and produced consent training, based around your feedback and what’s important to you. We’ve made it inclusive, interactive and detailed. This will be available to all students on MyJourney very soon.

We’ve also set up a group with the university to address support for survivors, the misconduct procedure and other topics.

Low Income and First Generation Students

You told us that you are having financial issues, difficulties with digital poverty, lack of resources for studying and many other issues in these difficult time.

The president team have responded to this by setting up the ‘Students’ First’ campaign, focusing on getting support you need for accommodation costs, academic costs etc.  Working with other Student Unions across the country, we have launched a petition and asking the Government to finance universities to provide sufficient support for students.

You can follow this on the Students’ First Facebook group here. 

I will continue to update you about what we’re doing.

Please keep staying in touch and tell us how we’re doing, and how we can be better allies and activists at [email protected].

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