Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on the 25 May, this month has seen many anti-racism rallys in York, the UK and around the world.
Social Vision approached several York organisations asking if they would like to share their thinking and to highlight what is already happening in the city that people can get involved in.
Racism is a de-humanising virus embedded in UK society
York Human Rights City Network embraces a vision of York as a vibrant, diverse, safe and fair community built on the foundations of universal human rights. They are proud that York is the UK’s first Human Rights City: which doesn’t mean their vision is achieved but instead that they are committed to making it their destination.
Their mission is to do all they can, alongside others, to ensure that York’s statutory and voluntary agencies act in conformity with the UK’s obligations as a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and promote understanding among all races.
Stephen Pittam, Chair of York Human Rights City Network says:
It has been inspiring to experience the sense of solidarity here in York, and around the country, for those standing up against racism and promoting a vision of diversity, equity and inclusion in our multiracial society.
We join with others in our city who have expressed anger and distress at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020.
Racism is a de-humanising virus which is embedded in UK society, just as it is in the USA.
Our latest work, focusing on the experience of hate crime in York, should leave no-one in doubt that, shamefully, it is present in our city. Racism is a scourge which undermines the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings which underpin the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The York Human Rights City Network stands alongside our BAME communities in York and all those who understand that tackling racism in all its manifestations must wait no longer.
Using food to bring people together
YUMI say the anti-racism protests across the country have demonstrated the importance of finding a commonality to bring people together and celebrate the diversity of individuals and communities. For them, food has proven to be a great way to do exactly that.
YUMI has an International Community Garden at Fulford Cross Allotments where people who have come to York from around the world can come together to share skills growing food.
Candi Colbourn, Chair of YUMI says
We provide opportunities for people from different backgrounds and cultures to connect with the local York community, make friends, develop confidence and feel like valued and contributing members of the city.
Food is at the heart of YUMI.
We created our International Community Garden to tackle loneliness and isolation by bringing people together to share their cultural traditions, including traditional produce and dishes, promoting health and wellbeing by supporting people to grow food in a beautiful outdoor space.
YUMI provides a range of opportunities to encourage the development of positive and resilient relationships between York’s residents and communities. Whether it’s sharing food and friendship across communities at our garden sessions, creating international crafts or practicing English at YUMI’s Conversation Café and Voices creative writing workshops, the charity works to help people get to know their neighbours, prevent loneliness and social isolation, promoting understanding and supporting all people to feel welcome, make connections to the local community and become active and valued citizens.
Candi goes on to say:
Everyone is guaranteed a warm welcome with YUMI. We bring people together from all cultures through a range of creative and fun activities, supporting them to join together to address barriers such as loneliness, isolation and stigma, connecting to others and making friends, sharing skills and celebrating traditions.
In light of COVID-19 we’re having to offer a reduced activity programme but we hope once we’re back to some kind of normal we’ll be able to welcome more people to our garden as well as offer some of the different activities and events we love organising to bring people together. Do get in touch to find out more about how you can get involved.
Celebrating our refugees
Refugee Action York were very happy to share with us that it was Refugee Week this week and pointed us to their week of online events celebrating refugees and what they bring to our city alongside highlighting their plight.
We need to educate people
Jake Furby of York LGBT Forum wrote us a heartfelt guest blog talking about tackling racial bias and his own experience in York as an Equal Rights Campaigner.
We need to engage in the understanding that we still have systematic oppression of Black people in our society. This, for some, is a difficult conversation to have, as many see themselves as liberal people who treat everyone the same.
This is the crux of the issue. We need to educate people about the difference between equality (treating everyone the same), equity (adjusting services so people can participate) and liberation (the removal of all barriers).
Photo credit: Richard McDougall, York Mix