RJN: Reflecting on 2017, looking forward to 2018
Remi Joseph Salisbury and Penny Wangari-Jones from the Racial Justice Network take stock:
2017 has been an eventful year. From the election of Donald Trump to the continued fallout of the Brexit vote, we are ever reminded of the importance of anti-racist work. These events have had profound implications for Black and Brown communities generally, and the Racial Justice Network particularly.
However, the adversities of this year have only strengthened our resolve to resist. This year has seen ever increasing numbers of people join our network and attend our events. As more and more of us awaken to the deep racial inequity that patterns our society, our network is growing and strengthening.
2017 saw us hold a very successful campaign training course. This course has enabled a highly passionate and motivated group of Black and Brown people to learn from one another in a supportive environment. With the UK government committed to making Britain an increasingly hostile environment, we are proud of the welcoming spaces we have been able to create. These spaces have empowered the Racial Justice Network, and we hope that the Racial Justice Network has empowered our members and friends. We know that the network we have built is already fighting for social change and will continue to strengthen into 2018 and beyond.
Whilst the government have conducted tokenistic race audits with very little tangible action, and the ‘Lammy review’ has shied away from a diagnosis of institutional racism, we remain firm in our understanding of structural and institutional forms of racism.
We are not naive about the levels of racism and intolerance in contemporary society. The recent threat of deportation facing one of our members, members living in G4S accommodation, and yet other members facing racial inequality in employment, have been a few reminders of how cruel this system can be. However, the widespread shows of solidarity gives us strength and hope.
We have linked, spoken and facilitated training with Leeds Tidal, WOW bradford, Collective Liberation Project, People of Global Majority, The monitoring group, Red Pepper, Equality Forum, Take Back Control, Bridges not Walls and many more, and we hope to continue working collaboratively in the year ahead.
As we continue to highlight, race matters when addressing oppressions and struggles (current and historical), we look towards building connections with others who understand and see the need for intersectionality in building solidarities and power.
We are confident in the movement we are building, and we know yet more will join in 2018. As we continue to grow, learn and resist, we record this not as the year of Trump and Brexit, but a year of Planning and Resisting.