Challenging racism artwork

George Floyd’s murder: one year on

Today, May 25 2021, marks the anniversary of George Floyd’s tragic murder. One year ago, its painful news travelled from Minneapolis sparking pain, outrage, and unified calls for justice against racism around the world. Just weeks ago, the world also witnessed as Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, was lawfully convicted of Mr Floyd’s murder, bending the needle a little more towards justice.

Last summer, our own community members at the University of Kent joined in global solidarity and called for the acute end of racism within our own institution. Student voices organised by the Afro-Diasporic Legal Network, West African Society, University of Kent Ethiopian & Eritrean Society, University of Kent ACS, UKC Nigerian Society, Kent Caribbean Union, Kent Southern African Society, and the Kent East African Society organised a call to action and highlighted just 10 of the many areas where may begin the work to tackle racism.

Their submission joined a legacy of leading student voices, such as those who came together to submit the BME Student Voices Project and Decolonize the Curriculum Manifesto, who rallied for the same cause. In requested response, this year we launched the Challenging Racism webpage, focused on directly engaging our student and wider community on our actions to address these recently raised concerns.

Throughout the year, one also marked by compounded hardships, the University of Kent continued the work of realising a university community that holds ‘zero tolerance’ for racial antagonism with new vigour. University leadership organised to install a new EDI Governance structure that will take reported concerns through address to completed action. Alongside this, we launched the new EDI website as a central hub for staff and students to keep connected with University endeavours fixed on equality; specifically the Challenging Racism pages, where we communicate updates on the progress made towards meeting the demands articulated, including developing an Antiracism strategy, Executive Group training and a revised Campus Security Charter. We have also begun the process of preparing an application for the Race Equality Charter.

The horrid injustice that ended George Floyd’s life is one that can never truly be redressed—but our actions towards ending repeated occurrences are essential. We at the University of Kent continue to come together to tackle the structural issues of institutionalised racism. We acknowledge that work has yet to be complete and there is still much to do. We invite everyone’s continued engagement, commitment to self-reflection, continual learning and work to dismantle discriminatory structures at Kent.

Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura
Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance

Dr Auzimuth Jackson
Student EDI Officer