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14 dead, nothing said - The New Cross Massacre 40 years on

If black lives didn’t seem to matter in 2020, they mattered even less four decades earlier.

Forty years ago this weekend (Sunday 18 January 1981), a joyous 16th birthday party in a South London home, turned into a tragedy after 13 black youngsters were killed when the house became a deadly inferno.

Governmental Gaslighting from the Equalities Minister

Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss set out the Johnson administration’s overhaul the Government’s equalities work this week, but it turned out to be nothing more than gaslighting on a governmental scale.

Truss declared the fight for equality should be led by ‘facts, not fashion’ and claimed notions of structural racism, protected characteristics and intersectionality were simply the flavour of the month and had all been proven worthless.

Does Black History Month still have a purpose?

Arthur Wharton, the first Black man to play professional football in Britain

Though first observed in the United States in the 1970s, Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in October 1987.

Taking place mainly in educational and local council institutions, the idea behind it was to give some exposure to Black historical figures who’s achievements had been previously overlooked by the existing school curriculum, that preferred instead to focus their attention on the achievements of the white English men.

Covid-19: is there an opportunity for a new approach to informal exclusions?

 

The Department for Education has produced a guidance document for schools when they re-open in September after the Covid-19 closures.  ROTA has some thoughts.  

The period of lockdown has proved particularly challenging for some pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. Refugees, asylum seekers, children from some BAME communities and from Gipsy, Roma and Traveller families have had difficulty accessing support and education resources.  

Time to Shut Up! Racism, Royalty and the limitations of Britishness

Meghan’s Blackness has lost its sparkle even quicker than I originally envisioned when I wrote an initial comment piece shortly after the royal wedding. As I alluded to at the time and reiterate here, the sparkle of Meghan’s Blackness could not last because at its core Britain is an institutionally racist country.

Theresa May’s mental health act reform: Warm words but scant action

You may well have missed it under the Brexit deluge but Theresa May announced a major reform of the Mental Health Act this month – the first for 30 years.

She had commissioned Sir Simon Wessely, Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and president of the Royal Society of Medicine to examine the legal state of Britain’s mental health system.

His report came out earlier this month. Frankly it is full of warm words but proposes scant action and dumps the problem of better treatment for mental health patients on the NHS.

The selective amnesia of Trevor Phillips could lead us down the path to civil disorder

A number of people have approached me with regards to Trevor Phillips recent article in the Mail newspaper calling for the police to be made exempt of race equality laws to allow them to carry out more stop and search operations on predominantly young black boys in areas with high levels of violent crime.

Review of the Mental Health Act fails to put ‘Race’ on its Agenda for change, but acknowledges the reality of institutional racism in the mental health system

The report by Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, is headed ‘Modernising the Mental Health Act’ and subtitled ‘increasing choice, reducing compulsion’. There is nothing we can object to in this report except that it fails to recommend any legislative changes at all that would reduce institutional racism. And this is in spite of assurances given by Simon Wessely earlier this year that race was on his agenda for the Review; and that - together with the Race Equality Foundation (REF) - ROTA submitted specific suggestions for such legal changes.

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