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Peace News 2020 appeal

A new PN project: Anti-Racism, What Works? A survey of British activists

This year has been overshadowed by COVID-19, which has taken so many hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, and changed how we live.

The pandemic has also changed the nature of campaigning – though nonviolent direct action has continued, as we’ve reported in recent issues of Peace News, with occupations of sites along the planned route of HS2, anti-arms trade blockades and rooftop occupations, and a wealth of actions during the Extinction Rebellion climate mobilisation last month.

The other huge feature of this year has been the anger felt across the world at the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, and the massive wave of protests in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Many of us are hoping that this second wave of BLM demonstrations marks a real turning point in rooting out racism in Western societies like the UK. If that is to be true, there will have to be a sustained effort by people throughout society – and the peace movement can make its own contribution to that uprooting.

Peace News has already taken one step by carrying out a small anonymous survey of British peace activists in early September. The survey (of 117 people) uncovered a wealth of positive actions already being taken in different groups and organisations – as well as by individuals.

Now, we are asking you to help us to carry out a more ambitious survey of campaigners across the UK to find out ‘what already works’ in terms of anti-racism/racial justice.

We want to find out not only what people think and feel on this subject, but what their positive experiences have already been of successful actions and policies. How have campaigners created more racially-inclusive groups and events? How have they secured more racial justice from powerful institutions?

We believe that the results of this survey could create a valuable handbook of practical actions that local groups and national organisations can take to overcome racism and build stronger movements for peace and justice.

It might also lay the basis for a useful guide, in everyday language, for how to think and talk about race and racism.

As a person of colour who has been involved in the British peace movement since I was 16, in 1981 – the time of Cruise and Pershing – I think this coming year is a huge opportunity for the movement to move forward in terms of racial justice, without blame or shame, but with humility and practical action.

Please help us to make a lasting contribution to that effort.

Yours in peace,

Milan Rai

Editor, Peace News


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