96 resources to help understand the Black Lives Matter movement
Race and Ethnicity
We are grateful that our BLAQUE (Black Lawyers Aligned in the Quest for Excellence) network along with our Sterling Pride network developed this excellent resource toolkit.
We understand that it can be difficult to know how you can help or what you can do to combat what is a systemic issue. Educating yourself is a crucial step towards becoming better-equipped to challenge the inequality and injustice suffered by the Black community, even if it can feel uncomfortable or awkward. We have therefore included a number of tools to help colleagues support the Black community.
One of the most important things that you can do as an ally of the Black community is to educate yourself more deeply on the issues as well as supporting Black artists, organisations and businesses. We have sought to include a wide range of resources, but the below is by no means exhaustive. Where possible, we would encourage you to purchase books and other resources from local and independent stores to support smaller businesses, particularly in light of the financial difficulties caused by Covid-19. Reni Eddo-Lodge has asked that if you buy her book, you consider matching however much you bought it for with a donation to local and national racial justice organisations, or borrow a copy and donate what you would have otherwise spent. This approach could be applied to any of the recommended resources.
For each area we have included the UK-focused resources at the top and would reiterate the message from social media and beyond that racism is not simply a US problem.
- “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race” – Reni Eddo-Lodge
- “Natives – Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire” – Akala
- “The Good Immigrant” – Nikesh Shukla
- “Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging” – Afua Hirsch
- "Being Black in Britain: The Civil Rights Movement They Never Taught You in School" – Jasmine Botchey
- "Ain't No Black in the Union Jack" – Paul Gilroy
- "Black and British – A Forgotten History" – David Olusoga
- "War to Windrush" – Stephen Bourne
- “White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to Talk About Racism” – Robin DiAngelo
- "How to Be an Anti-Racist" – Ibram X. Kendi
- “I am not your baby mother” – Candice Brathwaite
- “Me and White Supremacy: How to recognise your privilege, combat racism and change the world – Layla Saad
- "So You Want to Talk About Race" – Ijeoma Oluo
- "White" – Richard Dyer
- “The New Jim Crow” – Michelle Alexander
- "I will not be erased" – gal-dem
- “Becoming” – Michelle Obama
- “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” – Barack Obama
- "Slay in Your Lane" – Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené
- "Playing in the Dark" – Toni Morrison
- "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings" – Maya Angelou
- “The New Black Vanguard” – Antwaun Sargent
- “Crimes That Shook Britain” (Amazon Prime) – series 4, episode 1 deals with the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
- “Is Britain Racist?” (BBC) – a documentary film looking at race relations in the UK.
- “Thirteenth” (Netflix) – a film that does a deep dive into the injustice of the USA incarceration system and how its history is rooted in modern slavery and denial of civil rights.
- “When They See Us” (Netflix) – Ava DuVernay – a miniseries based on the Central Park Five, a group of African American young males who were falsely accused and then imprisoned on charges of assault and rape in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case.
- “White People, Enough: A look at Power and Control”
- “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” (Netflix) - a documentary on the mysterious death of Black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P Johnson in 1992.
If you prefer listening to podcasts, Bustle has an article with 40 podcasts you can listen to which each discuss an aspect of racism in the UK and the Black British experience: https://www.bustle.com/p/40-podcasts-about-the-black-british-experience-race-in-the-uk-22949227
The podcast “1619” from the New York Times is also a very helpful resource.
If you are active on Instagram, there are a number of influencers who regularly post content aimed at advancing an understanding of issues around race. Bustle have put together a list: https://www.bustle.com/p/instagram-accounts-to-follow-for-self-education-on-black-history-anti-racist-action-in-the-uk-22950796
Books to read with children
- "Sulwe" – Lupita Nyong’o
- "How High The Moon" – Karyn Parsons
- "Colors of Us" – Karen Katz
- "Amazing Grace" – Mary Hoffman
Diversity and inclusion are core values at Shearman & Sterling and one of the ways we can actively practise these values is by supporting and nurturing the Black community within the firm.
Our Black lawyer inclusion network, BLAQUE, organises numerous firm initiatives and hosts various events to celebrate Black culture, highlight issues that affect the Black community and promote the success of the Black community within the firm and the legal profession more broadly. In January, we worked with SEO London ("Sponsors for Educational Opportunity") to host our 'BLAQUE in the City' event which aimed to give aspiring Black solicitors an insight into life at the firm. The event was introduced by our Managing Partner who expressed the firm's commitment to diversity & inclusion and included a presentation by a senior associate member of the BLAQUE network, an application workshop, an internal panel discussion on the firm's diversity strategy and a client panel discussion which explored client expectations around diversity and the contrasting experiences of private practice and in-house lawyers. Students were provided with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and the event was followed with a networking session.
Beyond specific firm initiatives, effective allyship starts with setting a good example and is strengthened when you encourage others to do the same. As a result, it is imperative that we all set good examples with respect to diversity, inclusion, tolerance and speaking out against racial injustice both inside and outside of the firm.
UK-based Organisations and Charities
Our colleagues have been donating and researching the following organisations, which you may wish to consider. These charities are also great resources in and of themselves.
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust campaigns for fairness and justice, supports young people in overcoming disadvantage and discrimination, and ensures businesses are more inclusive of diverse talent.
Charity Number 1102267
Stand Up To Racism
Stand Up To Racism co-ordinates large-scale anti-racist initiatives such as public demonstrations against all forms of racism.
Kick It Out
English football’s equality and inclusion organisation, working to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.
Charity Number 1104056
Show Racism The Red Card
Donation Page: https://www.justgiving.com/theredcard
An anti-racism educational charity that delivers workshops and produces educational resources, utilising the high-profile status of football and football players to tackle racism in society.
Charity Number 1116971
Black Cultural Archives
Black Cultural Archives collects, preserves and celebrates the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK and runs a series of gallery exhibitions, educational programmes and public engagement events at their archive museum.
An independent race equality thinktank acting through research-based interventions in social policy and practice, and publicly engaging with decision makers on racism and discrimination.
Charity Number 1063609
Discrimination Law Association
A network that brings together a broad range of discrimination law practitioners, policy experts, academics, and concerned individuals and organisations, dedicated to strengthening anti-discrimination law, practice, advice and education in the UK.
Charity Number 1124892
Southall Black Sisters Trust
An organisation with a particular focus on supporting Black and minority women, challenging domestic and gender-related violence locally and nationally through campaigns and offering support at their advice, advocacy and resource centre.
Charity Number 1081702
UK QTIBIPOC Emergency Relief & Hardship Fund
A short-term fundraiser to help QTIBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Intersex, Black and Indigenous People of Colour) who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
SARI Stand Against Racism and Inequality
SARI provides support for victims of any type of hate crime including racist, faith-based, disablist, homophobic, transphobic, age-based or gender-based.
Charity Number 1047699
Donation Page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/StopWatch-Campaign-for-Fair-Accountable-Policing
StopWatch campaigns against the disproportionate use of stop and search, the increasing use of exceptional stop and search powers and the weakening of accountability mechanisms.
Charity Number 1161908
An independent partnership of Lambeth community and services, working to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services and address the barriers which lead to poorer outcomes in areas such as education, employment and housing. Not yet a charity and does not appear to fundraise yet. We have contacted the organisation to see if we can assist.
We would encourage you to undertake your own research to learn about other organisations that may need support. We have a long track record of supporting small organisations by helping them obtain charitable status or helping them to form a cooperative. We have already been in contact with Black Thrive and the UK QTIBIPOC Emergency Relief & Hardship Fund.
One of the best ways to show your support for the Black community is to support Black artists and businesses. Here we set out a number of TV shows, films and books made by Black artists as well as a list of businesses here in the UK that you may wish to support, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- “Belle” – Directed by Amma Asante
- “To Sir, with Love” – Directed by James Clavell
- “Get Out” – Directed by Jordan Peele
- “Selma” – Directed by Ava DuVernay
- “Just Mercy” – Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
- “Moonlight” – Directed by Barry Jenkins
- “Twelve Years A Slave” – Directed by Steve McQueen
- “BlacKkKlansman” – Directed by Spike Lee
- “Mississippi Burning” – Directed by Alan Parker
- “The Color Purple” – Directed Stephen Spielberg
- "Hair Love" – Directed by Matthew A. Cherry (Oscar Winning Short Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNw8V_Fkw28)
- "See You Yesterday" – Directed by Stefon Bristol
- "American Son"– Directed by Kenny Leon
- “Hidden Figures” – directed by Theodore Melfi
- “I May Destroy You” (BBC/HBO) – a new drama from Bafta-winner Michaela Coel, a fearless, frank and provocative new drama about sexual consent and modern relationships. Starts Monday June 8 at 10.45pm on BBC One.
- “Noughts & Crosses” (BBC) – adaptation of Malorie Blackman's novel. The series imagines an alternate Britain where white people are subordinate to people of colour.
- “Black Earth Rising” (BBC) – drama set in the UK and starring Michaela Coel against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide.
- “Chewing Gum” (Channel 4) – comedy starring Michaela Coel as a religious, Beyoncé-obsessed 24-year-old who finds out that the more she learns about the world, the less she understands.
- “Top Boy” (Netflix) – a drama set in the housing estates of East London.
- “When They See Us” (Netflix) – a fictionalised account of the trials of the real 1989 Central Park Five. Depicts the reality of a racialised legal system and the damage it inflicts.
- “Dear White People” (Netflix) – comedy-drama series which follows a group of Black college students at an Ivy League college, following the reality of life as a young Black person in a society full of injustice and microaggressions.
- “I am not your Negro” (Amazon) – memoir recounts the lives of James Baldwin's close friends and civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers
- “Insecure” (Sky Comedy/HBO) – creator Issa Rae stars as Issa Dee in this comedy which follows her struggles to navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of Los Angeles along with her best friend Molly.
- “Blackish” (Amazon Prime) – set in the USA, a comedy about a family man struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighbourhood.
- “#BlackAF” (Netflix) – a comedy set in the US about a father who takes an irreverent and honest approach to parenting and relationships.
- “Queen Sono” (Neftlix) – a drama set in Africa about a South African spy who fights crime while dealing with crises in her personal life.
- “Pose” (BBC) – set in the 1980s in New York’s ballroom scene, a drama about the lives of the QTIBIPOC community and the challenges they faced just to go about their lives.
- “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” (Netflix) – an African American washerwoman rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Based on a true story.
- “Roots” (History Channel) – the infamous story of Kunta Kinte being taken from an Africa as a slave and his life (and that of his descendants) in the United States.
- “Noughts & Crosses” – Malorie Blackman
- “Americanah” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- "Small Island" – Andrea Levy
- “Ordinary People” – Diana Evans
- “Queenie” – Candice Carty-Williams
- “White Teeth” – Zadie Smith
- “Girl, Woman, Other” – Bernadine Evaristo
- “Such a Fun Age” – Kiley Reid
- “An American Marriage” – Tayari Jones
- “Half of a Yellow Sun” – Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie
- “Purple Hibiscus” – Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie
- “To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee
- "A Little Life" – Hanya Yanagihara
- "The Sellout" – Paul Beatty
- “Roots” – Alex Haley
Bustle has curated a list of a number of Black-owned businesses in the UK that you may wish to explore: https://www.bustle.com/p/black-owned-uk-businesses-to-buy-from-22947431
It also worth exploring whether the businesses you usually buy from have a commitment to diversity generally and anti-racism specifically.