The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Atatiana Jefferson are tragic examples of the everyday oppression, injustice and violence suffered by black people. Meanwhile, here in the UK, the government’s own figures show that black people are 9 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched, 3 times more likely to be arrested, and 5 times more likely to have excessive force used against them.
We recognise that the systems allowing racism to flourish in our society need to be dismantled, and that the silence that allows racist acts to continue needs to be challenged and counteracted wherever and whenever they occur.
SEM as a company would not exist without the historical and contemporary creative input of black artists. Pioneers like Frankie Knuckles, Larry Heard, Ron Hardy, Kelli Hand and Juan Atkins created the sounds and scenes that shaped dance music. That this history is being whitewashed from the decks and dancefloors of today is a tragic failure that we and the industry as a whole need to reflect upon, and react to.
Our focus as a company has always been to try to maintain an all inclusive structure from the inside out, for our staff and students. But we recognise that this isn’t enough. We are committed to educating ourselves in order to fully recognise the ways that systemic racism is deeply rooted in our society.
We are also committed to understanding how we have benefitted as an industry from the oppression and marginalisation of the black community – creative or otherwise.
We want to use our platform within the music and education industries to give voice to these issues, and to promote artists for whom the struggle against inequality is an everyday fact of life. Most importantly, we want to take the time to listen, to learn, and to turn our learnings into actions. We are having internal discussions currently and aim to outline an action plan over the coming weeks.
What can you do?
We’ve listed a few places to start below. If you have any other suggestions or if you’d like to discuss ways in which we can improve the way we work, we’d love to hear from you.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in a position to make a contribution, these are just some of the initiatives set that you could give your support to.
Sign a Petition
It might seem a small thing but petitions can and do make a difference.
And don’t stop there. Educate your friends, family, and colleagues by having open discussions on these vitally important issues and sharing resources and information.
We’re starting with Victoria Alexander’s comprehensive ‘Anti-Racist Resource Guide’ and encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for reading, from all the team at SEM.