“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

Welcome to the Black Lives Matter section of the Aston Students’ Union website.


Black Lives Matter is a decentralised political and social movement whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. It started in the United States but has since spread across the world.


In July 2013, Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag on social media following the acquittal of George Zimmerman who murdered Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American boy. After police murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014, the movement became recognised across the United States for its large street demonstrations. In 2020, following the police murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests took place globally and an estimated 15 million to 26 million people participated in protests across the United States.


Unfortunately, it is clear that racism still very much exists in society, and we must fight it whatever form it takes. Aston Students’ Union stands in solidarity with the Black community, in the UK and across the world, as well as the wider BAME community.


This section of our website aims to educate everyone about the cultural backgrounds and achievements of Black people, and the struggles they have faced and continue to face today, providing resources, articles, and charities and foundations to support, among other things.


Only by coming together can we bring about the kind of change we want to see in society.



1526 - 1807.


transatlantic slave trade

took place between the mid-16th century and early 19th century. It involved the kidnapping, transportation, selling, buying, enslavement and killing of Africans. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Arabs and several West African kingdoms played a prominent role.

1526 - 1807.

English naval officer

Sir John Hawkins of Plymouth

is widely acknowledged as "the Pioneer of the English Slave Trade". His four voyages to Sierra Leone between 1562 and 1569 took and sold a total of 1200 Africans across the Caribbean.

1562 - 1569.
1562 - 1569.

Ireland began to participate in the slave trade in during the mid-17th century.

William Ronan,

rose to become chairman of the committee of merchants at Cape Coast Castle in modern Ghana, running one of the world's largest slave markets between 1687 and 1697.


The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade

was formed in 1787 by a group of Quakers (a Christian denomination) united in their shared opposition to slavery and the slave trade.


Olaudah Equianoo

, a former slave captured in Africa, published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, in which he explores the story of his kidnap and enslavement.


British ships made about 1,340 voyages across the Atlantic, landing nearly


slaves. Between 1801 and 1807, they took a further 266,000. The slave trade remained one of Britain's most profitable businesses.


The Slave Trade Act

was passed in March 1807, thereby aboloshing the slave trade. However, despite the slave trade now being illegal it continued for numerous years after this point.


Great Britain abolished slavery throughout its empire, which freed more than


enslaved men, women and children.


The Government took out a loan to pay slave owners compensation for "loss of human property"; taxes were used to pay off the loan.

Repayments only ended in 2015.


WWI saw a small growth in the size of London's Black communities with the arrival of merchant seamen and soldiers. By the war’s end, a total of


Black men, had served in the British West Indies Regiment in Britain.


WWII - Many Black people from the Caribbean and West Africa arrived in small groups as wartime workers, merchant seamen, and servicemen from the army, navy, and air forces. More than


Africans fought for Britain.


The Windrush Generation.

Nearly half a million people moved from the Caribbean to Britain, due to Britain facing severe labour shortages in the wake of the Second World War. However, they were met with significant racism. For many Caribbean immigrants, their first experience of discrimination came when trying to find private accommodation.


The Notting Hill riots in the UK occured as a result of the growing tensions between the white and Black community which led to a group of white working-class youth known as the

‘Teddy Boys’

physically assaulting five Black men and vandalising property owned by Caribbean immigrants.



1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act

was passed in Britain along with a succession of other laws in 1968, 1971 and 1981, which severely restricted the entry of Black immigrants into Britain.


The Bristol Bus Boycott

drew national attention to racial discrimination in Britain, and the campaign was supported by national politicians, with interventions being made by church groups and the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago.


The introduction of the

Race Relations Act.

- the first legislation in the UK to address racial discrimination.


The first

Notting Hill Carnival

was primarily organised by Rhaune Laslett, to highlight and celebrate the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in her area. Today it is said to be the second biggest carnival in the world, and the biggest one in Europe.

1968 - 1973

The formation of the

British Black Panther Party

. Founded by Biafran playwright Obi Egbuna, the British Black Panthers comprised an anti-racist movement of first- and second-generation immigrants from Britain’s former Caribbean, West African, and South Asian colonies.

1970s - 1980s.

Black people in Britain were the victims of racist violence perpetrated by far-right groups such as the

National Front.

During this period, it was also common for Black footballers to be subjected to racist chanting from crowd members.

1970s - 1980s.

Start of UK Riots. Societal racism and discrimination alongside perceptions of powerlessness and oppressive policing, sparked a series of riots in areas with substantial African-Caribbean populations. These riots took place in

St Paul's in 1980, Brixton, Toxteth and Moss Side in 1981, St Paul's again in 1982, Notting Hill Gate in 1982, Toxteth in 1982



The murder of

Stephen Lawrence

. A Black British teenager, Lawrence was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus. The incident led to cultural changes of attitudes on racism and the police, and to the law and police practice.


The death of

Joy Gardner

. Gardner died after being detained during a police immigration raid on her home, when she was restrained with handcuffs and leather straps and was gagged.


The introduction of the

National Black Police Association (NBPA)

, which is a group of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) employees in the UK police forces. The group seeks to improve working environments, to enhance racial harmony and the quality of service to all communities of the United Kingdom



EU-funded Afro-Community Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI)

was formed to represent the views of Black people.


Nigerian refugee and politician

Rotimi Adebari

was elected as mayor of Portlaoise, the first Black mayor in Ireland.



Mark Duggan

was shot dead by police in Tottenham, London a series of riots occurred in London between 6th August and 11th August.


Saw the development of the

Black Lives Matter (BLM)

movement, which is an international human rights movement formed within the Black community, fighting for freedom, liberation and justice.


Following the death of

George Floyd

, a series of protests began across the world to demand an end to police brutality and systemic racism.


Edward Colston

statue pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour. Sixty statues of slave traders and participants in the Slave Trade have been identified and petitions created to have them removed.



What are the different forms of racism?

Overt racism: Involves the conscious and deliberate acts that publicly display racist ideas, attitudes, beliefs and actions in a public and obvious way.

Covert racism: When racist attitudes and beliefs are expressed in a subtle manner. This form of racism typically goes unchallenged because it has been manifested in a subconscious way, that has become the norm and acceptable in society.

What is white privilege?

The systematic rights and societal privileges the white community benefit from. It can be viewed as a package containing social, political and economic benefits beyond what is commonly experienced by people of colour.

What is discrimination?

Is the act of making distinctions between human beings based on categories such as race, age and gender, disability etc and unfairly treating people because of these characteristics.

What is prejudice?

When someone holds a ridged and unfair generalisation and belief about an entire category of people, with little to no evidence that it is true. Prejudice often takes the form of stereotypes.

Is reverse racism possible?

Reverse racism is the concept that ethnic minorities and more specifically the Black community possess the social and economic power and authority to cause disadvantages for the white community. However, the general and accepted consensus is that reverse racism is a myth, as there's little to no empirical evidence ascertain that the white community suffer from systemic racism.

What is Black feminism?

A movement developed due to the simultaneous oppressions that Black women face being both Black and a female. It encompasses a Black woman's struggle against racism, sexism and classism.

What is Black Lives Matter?

A movement founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter is an international human rights movement, originating in the African American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards Black people.

What is cultural appropriation?

The adoption/ taking of elements of one culture such as practices, traditions, behaviours, artefacts etc by members of another culture. Those that cultural appropriate take from cultures for their own personal gain rather than to learn which would be cultural appreciation.

Is it okay to say ‘I don’t see colour’?

While we are all human and biologically the same, the systemic oppression of Black people makes their experiences vastly different. To say you do not see race means you fail to see and understand the daily oppression and marginalisation the Black community faces due to the colour of their skin.



The chance of death is 1 in 2,500 for Black women according to the UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths. But the rate was five times smaller for white women between 2014 and 2016.


Postnatal depression or anxiety in BAME mothers is 13% higher than in white mothers. A study found that Black women are the group least likely to initiate treatment for postnatal mental illness, and the least likely to receive follow-up treatment.

- Metro


38% of people from ethnic minorities said they had been wrongly suspected of shoplifting in the last five years, compared with 14% of white people, with Black people and women in particular more likely to be wrongly suspected.

- The Guardian

Of the 137 people who died as a result of police contact in the UK, 126 (92%) were male and 11 people (8%) females. 57% were Black or Black British, and 22% were Asian or Asian British.

- Institute of Race Racism

White offenders were given the shortest custodial sentences from 2009 to 2017, while Black people are detained under the Mental Health Act four times more often than white people.

- The Guardian


In 2016, 1.5% of the University of Cambridge's intake was Black, falling to 1.2% at Oxford University, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

- BBC News

Russell Group universities ( a collection of 25 prestigious research-intensive universities in the UK) have an average of 4% of Black students

- BBC News

78% of white students graduated last year with a first class of upper second-class degree, compared to just 53% of Black students.

- Office for students (Ofs)

Black people in UK 21 times more likely to have university applications investigated. According to the report by UCAS, 1 in 102 application were investigated for Black Students, whereas 1 in 2,146 application was investigated for White students. Alongside that, 13 Oxford university colleges failed to make a single offer to Black A-level applicants over a six-year period.

- Independent

Among the 535 senior officials who declared their ethnicity, 510 were white, 15 were Asian and 10 were recorded as “other including mixed”. Thirty senior academics either refused or failed to record an ethnicity.

- The Guardian


The survey undertaken by the Guardian in 2018 found that 43% of those from a minority ethnic background had been overlooked for a work promotion in a way that felt unfair in the last five years – more than twice the proportion of white people (18%) who reported the same experience.

- The Guardian

Troubling levels of concern about bias in the workplace, with 57% of minorities saying they felt they had to work harder to succeed in Britain because of their ethnicity, and 40% saying they earned less or had worse employment prospects for the same reason.

- The Guardian

53% of people from a minority background believed they had been treated differently because of their hair, clothes or appearance, compared with 29% of white people. (Guardian ICM Survey 2018).

- The Guardian

For the third year in a row, the Higher Education Statistics Agency published figures revealing that there were no Black academics have worked in senior management positions in any British university for the last three years.

- The Guardian

5% of Black workers in the UK are managers, directors and senior officials, compared to 11% of white worker and 9% Asian.

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
Angela Davis
Angela Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, philosopher, academic and author. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1950s where Black people were subjected to terrorism and segregation. As a member of the Communist Party USA, Davis was involved in numerous causes, including the second-wave feminist movement, the Black Panther Party, and the campaign against the Vietnam War. In 1972, she went on an international speaking tour, visiting countries around the world. Davis continues to be politically active today, voicing her support for movements such as Black Lives Matter. In 2020, she was listed as the 1971 “Woman of the Year” in Time Magazine’s “100 Women of the Year” edition.

See below our expanded resources page. Explore various media, including: books, movies, series, articles and videos giving a deeper look at confronting issues about race, alongside celebrating pieces made by Black authors, screenwriters, actors and directors.


Black Learning achievement and Mental Health

"We aim to promote a positive dialogue of social identity and culture through history."

Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation

"To be a leader in the delivery of holistic, recovery-focussed and culturally responsive mental health services."

West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre

"Our prime purpose is to improve the life chances, opportunities and experiences of African Caribbean communities and local people"


"The 4Front Project is a member-led youth organisation empowering young people and communities to fight for justice, peace and freedom. We support members with experiences of violence and the criminal justice system to create change; in their own lives, communities and society."


"INQUEST is the only charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. Our specialist casework includes deaths in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings and deaths involving multi-agency failings or where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question. This includes work around the Hillsborough football disaster and the Grenfell Tower fire."

Black Curriculum

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum. They believe that by delivering arts focused Black history programmes, providing teacher training and campaigning through mobilising young people, they can facilitate social change.

Black Lives Matter UK

The Black Lives Matter group has been fighting to be heard since 2013 - and the phrase itself is now being seen on streets and screens all around the world after the killing of George Floyd. BLM UK stand together in solidarity demanding equal human rights, racial equality, social and criminal justice.

Show Racism the Red Card

Show Racism the Red Card is the UK's leading anti-racism educational charity. They provide educational workshops, training sessions, multimedia packages, and a whole host of other resources, all with the purpose of tackling racism in society. Across Britain, Show Racism the Red Card delivers training to more than 50,000 individuals per year.

The Africa Centre

A UK registered charity working to create and promote authentic African cultural experience, through spaces and platforms that encourage creative expression, social interaction, cultural exchange, learning and entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

The trust was created after the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Their aim is to work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice. We also influence others to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish.

Black Thrive

Black Thrive is a partnership between communities, statutory organisations, voluntary and private sector. They work together to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services.

The Black African and Asian Therapy Network

One of the primary aims of BAATN is to address the inequality of access to appropriate psychological services for Black, African, South Asian and Caribbean people, which is a well-recognised reality. Part of the solution to addressing this inequality of access is through the provision of events and training for our members, the entire therapy community and the wider public.

Black Young Professional Network (BYP)

Empowers Black professionals around the world to connect with each other and global corporations. The BYP network was founded to harness the power of the Black community. With a network of over 40,000 members and a focus on working with existing Black networks and businesses, we are here to change the Black narrative.

UK Black Owned Business

Aims to promote wealth and retention in the African – Caribbean community by connecting quality UK Black owned businesses to potential customers.

Race On The Agenda (ROTA)

ROTA is a social policy research organisation that focuses on issues impacting the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. rota priorities mental health, education and criminal justice.

Black Girls Camping Trip

Black Girls Camping Trip is a non-profit organisation that creates tailored retreats for Black womxn in the UK. Their outdoor festival for Black women and non-binary people, provides opportunities for our campers to network, try new activities and have an escape from the things they may be experiencing.

Stop Hate UK

Stop Hate UK works alongside local strategic partnerships to tackle Hate Crime and discrimination, encourage reporting and support the individuals and communities it affects in the UK.


Since forming in 2010, StopWatch has led a wide-ranging campaign against the disproportionate use of stop and search, the increasing use of exceptional stop and search powers and the weakening of accountability mechanisms.

UK Black Pride

UK Black Pride is a safe space to celebrate diverse sexualities, gender identities, cultures, gender expressions and backgrounds and we foster, represent and celebrate Black LGBTQ and QTIPOC culture through education, the arts, cultural events and advocacy.

Black Minds Matter

Aims to connect Black individuals and families with free professional mental health services across the U.K. through making mental health topics relevant and accessible for all Black people in the U.K.

Southall Black Sisters

Is a not-for-profit, secular and inclusive organisation, was established in 1979 to meet the needs of Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. Our aims are to highlight and challenge all forms gender-related violence against women, empower them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom.

Runnymede Trust

Runnymede is the UK's leading independent race equality think tank. We generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.