Society Spotlight: Stand Up To Racism

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Stand Up To Racism is a national movement that opposes Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of migrants, holding national conferences and marches – some aimed specifically at students – with the objective of raising awareness and unifying people against racism and Islamophobia.

The Southampton branch of SUTR holds monthly meetings to discuss local events and talks, as well as organising transport to the national events across the country, most notably the annual march at Westminster. As the nationally affiliated University of Southampton’s Stand Up To Racism society, we aim to be a bridge of communication between the national movement, its Southampton branch, and the students of the University. We want to facilitate student involvement, holding monthly meetings on campus that tie into national events, as well as running our own relevant events. We want to bring as many marginalised voices to the forefront as possible, screening documentaries or inviting speakers to give talks, and to raise awareness of national and international crises.

For example, last October we held a successful talk for Black History Month in collaboration with SUSU, Black History Month South, and East African Society. We hosted speakers including Naima Omar, a member of the national Stand Up To Racism movement, and Don Jon, a filmmaker and author who has been specialising in issues of race and diversity, to discuss the importance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement here in the UK.

We have also worked with the University to create the Report Harassment form. This was initially designed as a safe space for people to log any religious or racial abuse but was later adapted to encompass all forms of abuse, not as specifically related to the anti-racism movement. We are hoping that the union will be able to use this form to better understand what our students are experiencing day to day, so we can tackle the issue on campus and in the local area to make Southampton a safer place and to allow diversity to thrive and be celebrated.

In the future, we will be organising subsidised or discounted transport to Stand Up To Racism’s national events in London, and continue to hold events across campus to help raise awareness of the issues we are currently facing. In addition, we aim to increase student accessibility to the ways in which we can help fight such issues.

The March Against Racism took place in London on UN’s Anti Racism Day, 17th March.  The main goals were to show that Trump’s racism is not welcome here in the UK, and neither is the poor treatment of refugees and migrants, nor the institutional racism exemplified by the Grenfell tragedy. 

On 23rd April, we also held a talk to tie into Holocaust Memorial Week, hosting the History department’s Tony Kushner presenting a talk on the evolution of hate speech, from the Nazi’s rhetoric to the media’s attacks of migrants and refugees.

For more details about our society, check our Facebook page.

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