Somerville students raise over £30 000 to support George Floyd protesters

first_imgThe fundraiser initially aimed to raise £2,000 to help “mitigate the harmful and deathly impacts of the criminal justice system against black people and those that stand up to oppressive structures.” “Statements on social media are animportant thing for black people to see because for so long many have felt thatissues of racism are often ignored, but we felt that there is more tosolidarity than words alone. “It is amazing to see how much has beenraised and the support from students all over the UK and the World, but this isby no means the end. We hope that people don’t just donate to this fundraiserand move on, but rather take it as a step to becoming actively anti-racist.Black people don’t get to forget about things and move on because the systemicand structural nature of racism and white supremacy permeates every aspect oftheir lives.” The fundraiser page explains: “The American criminal justice system disproportionately affects black people in America, as institutional racism often puts them in closer proximity to poverty. Some cannot afford bail, or private attorneys. They are placed in jails before their trials where they face the risk of death every day. Given the COVID-19 situation, and the difficulty of social distancing in jails, protesters being jailed could be even more life-threatening than it usually is. (See the stories of Kalief Browder and Sandra Bland).” The Fundraising Team told Cherwell:“What we witnessed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the publicity ofthe #BlackLivesMatter movement were many public declarations of solidarityusing social media. We are firm believers that activism requires action andwanted to create a means for people to do that; this was the main motivationfor creating the fundraiser. “The ten-minute-long video of GeorgeFloyd’s murder was proliferated on many social media websites; he could beheard clearly shouting that he couldn’t breathe. This followed the racistshooting of Ahmaud Arbery, murder of Breonna Taylor by police and the attemptby Amy Cooper to call the police on Christian Cooper; she told him she wouldcall the police and tell them that an African American man was threatening herlife. For many the sequence of events was pertinent; Christian Cooper’sencounter could have been fatal, George Floyd’s encounter was fatal.” “We worked together to write thedescription for the fundraiser and spoke to the Minnesota Freedom Fund to findout if they were happy for us to use Facebook. They pointed us in the directionof other charities they were working with (Black Visions Collective, Reclaimthe Block, Legal Rights Center), as they had been inundated with funds. After abrief Twitter search we found out that the National Lawyers Guild were beingsuggested as the main point of contact for protestors and we decided to go withthis charity. It raised over £1,000 in less than an hour and raised over £10,000 in less than 24 hours. It is still rapidly growing at over £30,000. The team plans to encourage donations to the fundraiser for two weeks. center_img “Danielle first approached Nadia, Ibti,and Cara with the idea of putting forward one of these charities to our JCRbecause there was an opportunity for an extra-ordinary charity ballot. Afterasking around and making some enquires it was clear that the bureaucracyinvolved would stop charities getting the funds in a timely fashion; it wasthen we moved to the idea of a fundraiser. Emma then heard that we werethinking about putting forward a charity motion and offered her help. A Facebook fundraising page started by Somerville students to provide legal support to protesters in the USA has raised over £30,000 since Saturday. “We did not expect the fundraiser to gainso much traction and even began with the meagre goal of £2000, but afterraising over half the amount in one hour we began steadily upping our goal. Wecan only thank the Oxford Black community and everyone else who shared thefundraiser. Read Melanie Onovo, Imogen Taylor, and Nigel Yau’s Silence is complicit, but so is inaction: Why JCRs and British institutions must act now here. Read Reem Sultan’s The Open Casket of George Floyd here. Read Ti Balanta’s Anti-blackness: a performative business here. The donations go to the National Laws Guild Inc, a non-profit in the US which provides legal support to advance human and civil rights. They are working with other charities including the Minnesota Freedom Fund to provide essential support to those protesting after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis last week. Image credit to Leonhard Lenz / Wikimedia Commons.last_img

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