Black Lives Matter | Statement

I am writing on behalf of all Poplar Union staff to show our full support for the Black Lives Matter movement both in the USA, UK and throughout the world and to declare our commitment to being an actively anti-racist organisation. Poplar Union operates a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind and will continue to do whatever is in our power to usefully contribute to the eradication of racism, bigotry, racial violence and police brutality.

Whilst we pause to celebrate the diversity of our community, our network of artists and facilitators and the brilliant individuals who work at Poplar Union, we also pause to acknowledge the lack of diversity in our core staff team. This is a fact we do not shy away from and will now work even harder to confront. We recognise the importance of diversity in the arts and channel this in our programming at Poplar Union, though we humbly acknowledge there is always more that can be done. We have not been hasty in releasing this statement, having spent the last week ruminating on what would be of most use to the Black Lives Matter movement, not only now, but crucially, in the long-term to enable lasting and much-needed change and improvement, both at Poplar Union and within the arts sector more broadly.

We pledge a commitment to increasing the representation of Black and Minority Ethnic people in our programme; to undergoing diversity and inclusivity training for all Poplar Union staff; to offering placement schemes specifically for BME people to provide the skills and access into what is currently a white-dominated cultural sector, to name but some of the ways we hope to contribute to the changes being called for right now.
The fight for racial equality and an end to institutional racism and police brutality will only ever be won through collective action, education and support for our communities.

Below you will find a list of resources the team at Poplar Union have found particularly useful be it in opening up conversations about race, learning how to be an ally, charities and fundraising campaigns, resources for the Black LGBTQIA+ community and more. Please take the time to use and share these resources and we welcome suggestions from our community of anything else you feel should be included below.

Thank you,

Beth Watton
(Artistic Director)


RESOURCES

Activism, petitions & charities 

Stand Up to Racism
End Direct Provision in Ireland (Change.org)
Stop Watch UK
Blank White Space
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
Black Thrive
Fight for Breonna 

LGBTQIA+

The Proud Trust
Black LGBTQIA+ Therapy Fund

Artists, theatre companies & arts organisations

Talawa
Goldsmiths – courses
Purple Moon Drama
Black Theatre Live 
Black Play Archive
Mojisola Adebayo – Actor, Playwright, Director, Producer and Teacher
Lorraine Hansberry – Playwright and writer
Debbie Tucker Green – British playwright, screenwriter and director
Joe Penhall – British writer of Blue/Orange
Travis Alabanza – Artist, performer and writer
Sonny Nwachukwu – Writer, director, choreographer and performer
Akeim Toussaint – interdisciplinary performer and maker
Dickson Mbi – Dancer
Jamila Johnson Small – Artist and dancer
Akala – Artist, activist and writer
George the Poet – Spoken word performer
Harold Offeh – Artist

Blogs, articles & books

New Yorker – About Direct Provision
White Complicity Matters – The Nazis by the Lake, by Musa Okwonga
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Natives by Akala
Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davies
Double Down News
The 1619 Project (New York Times)

Useful Videos

White Fragility
Toni Morrison interview
James Baldwin 1965 speech
Quick White Privilege Count
Being Nice is not Going to End Racism – Robin DiAngelo
Coming to Terms With Racism’s Inertia: Ancestral Accountability – Rachel Cargle (TEDxBend)
Black Sheep (Guardian short film)

Films 

13th (available on Netflix)
When They See Us (available on Netflix)
Girlhood (available on Amazon Prime)
Just Mercy (available on Amazon Prime)
The Hate U Give (available on Amazon Prime)

Podcasts

Two friends talking about racism, then football (Musa Okwonga)
Racism has a cost for everyone – Heather C McGhee (TedTalk)

Instagram accounts to follow

The Great Unlearn
i-Weigh
Check your privilege 
Systemic racism in America explained in an animation
Black Lives Matter 
Aja Barber

Anti-racism resources document from Sarah Sophie Flicker