Black Lives Matter Resources

Somerville College MCR Committee Statement in Support of Black Lives and Communities of Colour (published 26/06/2020)

In the last month the systemic violence and injustice experienced by Black communities has been brought to the forefront of American and British society. Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, the call for Black voices to be heard, for Black lives to be valued, and for police brutality to end has grown ever louder. The Somerville College Middle Common Room (MCR) Committee wants to take this opportunity to add our voice to this call, and to affirm our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognise that the weight of the last few weeks may have been felt acutely by our Black members and so we want to assert our ongoing commitment to making our community an anti-racist space.

We recognise that this is not just an American problem. The disparities in the treatment of Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) individuals by the UK criminal justice system are well-documented, as well as the wider social prejudice and structural racism that affects BAME communities daily. It falls on every institution to identify and try to rectify the injustices within their own communities. The Somerville MCR is no exception to this.

To that end, we have reflected on what we can do as a committee to support the movement and increase awareness amongst our members. We have organised several initiatives to begin the long process of addressing these issues (see below for further details). Firstly, we have collated a number of resources for MCR members, should they wish to support and educate themselves about Black Lives Matter and associated causes. Secondly, our Library Rep is working closely with the college to identify how we can better represent BAME voices and history in the selection of books that the library stocks, based on the suggestions of Somerville students. Thirdly, our Minority and Ethnic Group rep organised a panel of distinguished speakers to come and discuss the topic of police and prison abolition—something that has been called for increasingly over the last few weeks. This is only the beginning of the MCR’s efforts. We are currently working closely with the college on a number of initiatives to support BAME students and communities, which we expect to be announced in the coming weeks and months. We can and must continue to take action going forward.

Finally we want to express our gratitude to the effort Somerville College has been making in taking steps to bring our community together,  start a conversation, and establish initiatives to address key issues to support Black students and Communities of Colour. We also want to express our hope that the university will take the necessary action to address its own structural racism. Such prejudice is ingrained in the history of the university, and lives on in its institutions to this day. Oxford has come under great scrutiny in recent weeks, often for good reason. It is essential that racism is not tolerated within our physical or virtual spaces. The latter is even more important given the recent switch to digital learning. We recognise that the university has taken some positive steps in this direction, but much more action is needed before Oxford can claim to treat all its students equally. The Oxford African and Caribbean Society has released a detailed statement and list of concerns to be addressed by the university, which we have also given our support to.

We stand in solidarity with Black communities: in the MCR, in Somerville, in Oxford and across the world, and recognise that we must do more. Black lives matter.

Somerville College MCR Committee


Suggestions for books to be added to the library:

Zoom recording for police and prison abolition event on June 17th: (we are planning to upload this to Youtube soon. We will post on Facebook and Twitter when this is available)

Oxford African and Caribbean Society statement:

MCR Welfare

The following resources have been compiled by the MCR committee for students who wish to support and learn about Black Lives Matter and associated causes. This is part of the MCR’s ongoing effort towards anti-racism:

Supporting via donation

the Strategist has produced a detailed guide of over 100 causes one can donate to, which can be found here. It’s worth being aware that some high profile organisations are no longer requesting donations as they have sufficient funds for the time being, so money is better directed elsewhere.

For those interested in supporting UK-specific causes, CapitalFM have produced a good guide which can be found here.

Other links worth considering in terms of donations include: ,

Significant organisations

Some high-profile groups doing important work you may want to be aware of include: , , ,

Suggested reading

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L Eberhardt
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Suggested listening

  • Check Your Privilege Podcast
  • The Breakdown with Shaun King Podcast
  • Speaking of Racism Podcast
  • Cite Black Women Podcast
  • 1619 Podcast
  • Legal Tea With B Podcast

Suggested watching

Suggested Twitter accounts (to follow/buy from)

  • @decolonizethisplace
  • @heavydiscussion
  • @ACLU
  • @colorofchange
  • @theblackcurriculum
  • @wellreadblackgirl
  • @thelitbar
  • @afriwarebooks
  • @esowonbooks
  • @mahogonybooks
  • @forkeepsbooks