Black Lives Matter: A Statement from the BARS President and Executive, June 2020

By Anna Mercer

The British Association for Romantic Studies condemns in the strongest terms the systemic and persistent destruction of Black lives. The deplorable and distressing murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are the latest in a long line of brutal injustices that stretch back through centuries of inequality and discrimination in the United States. It is with dismay that we see that, in 2020, so much work remains to be done. 

This crisis of racism is not confined to the US alone: in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world, intolerance and discrimination have been on the rise. The deaths of Sean Rigg, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell and Sheku Bayoh point starkly to the toxic and structural imbalances in law enforcement and the justice system within the UK. The rise in weaponized anti-immigrant rhetoric, populist ethnonationalism, Islamophobia and national scandals like Windrush demonstrate that racism is a global pandemic. Contrary to initial suggestions that the COVID-19 crisis was the ‘great leveller’, emerging data indicates that people from BAME backgrounds are significantly more likely to die from the virus than white people. Yet, people of colour disproportionately make up our health and care sectors, putting their lives at …read more