Image Credit: Fibonacci Blue
The current growth of the global Black Lives Matter movement has sparked many individuals to set up their own groups, charities and projects in solidarity. Nouse reached out to the organisers of one such group in York.
The project, entitled the York Anti-Racist Collective (YARC), has been set up by two young women named Amy Bullard and Imogen White. We asked the pair what this project aims to achieve, and we were told they “are hoping that YARC can become a collaboration of black and brown voices, supported by dedicated white allies. Until we are up and running a bit more we won’t know what this looks like, but we are hoping that YARC will be a network that can organise future protests, release statements on topical issues, and hopefully educate the people of York on what anti-racism is, and how to practice it.”
Regarding why this project is needed in York specifically, Nouse were told that:
“We feel like YARC is needed in York because there aren’t many places in which BAME people can come together and discuss issues they are facing - in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the #blacklivesmatter movement being revitalised, we didn’t know where to look. The protests in York weren’t organised by BAME people - the first was white women, and the second was Stand up to Racism which is part of the Socialist Workers Party. There was no collective of black people speaking up about what they wanted and how they wanted to protest, and we hope that YARC can facilitate this in the future.”
As such, this project is hoping to connect BAME individuals, and give them a space of collaboration. This is particularly necessary within York as Amy tells us that she believes that “there is a lack of representation of BAME voices in York”. Despite there being a lack of representation, Amy hopes for this project to focus on “BAME community building”, after hearing “from a couple of people of colour in York who have said they feel isolated at the moment”. The pair believe that “it’s important for BAME people to be able to connect with other BAME people and currently there isn’t much opportunity to do so.” Therefore, not only does this project give a space for representation and recognition of BAME voices, but it also acts, crucially, as a community and collective for those voices within York.
Amy told us that they were first prompted to start this project because they believe that “there is a fair amount going on in the world which frustrates us and we wanted to feel as if we were doing something productive within our local community to combat anti-blackness and challenge institutional racism within the UK, and within York.”
To join the collective, we are told that “you do not need to have knowledge about being anti-racist, all we ask is that you have passion for the cause. Drop us an email, even if you are unsure and we can have further chats.”
The email for those who wish to join the collective is firstname.lastname@example.org.