Petition to University of Bristol
Rename Wills Memorial Building, Bristol
Every student who first attends Bristol cannot help but notice the grand prominence of Wills Memorial Building at the top of Park Street. However, little know the history behind the name - enter Henry Overton Wills III. As honoured within the building itself, H.O. Wills is known best for being the first chancellor of the university; less people are aware that this position was granted to him after financing the university with slave-profited money. While we begrudgingly understand that Bristol has a historical connection to the slave trade, we find it hard to accept that the university still glorifies an individual who profited so greatly from such an immoral practice. We also find it ironic that the building is often the setting for events hosting some of this century's most progressive thinkers. As students of Bristol, we ask the university to uphold its commitment to diversity and inclusivity and revise the name of the building that is, somewhat, a centerpiece in the uni. The Wills family may have invested heavily in the institution, but this does not justify the means of slavery. As an establishment that wishes its community to be effective in 'challenging accepted norms'*, let us break free from Bristol's homogeneous toleration of slave profiteers and name the building after somebody the entire university population can be proud of. Asher Websdale, Elmi Hassan & Shakeel Taylor-Camara * http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/university/documents/governance/policies/university-strategy.pdf#page=9
Petition to Brit Awards
Publish diversity figures
On Thursday January 14th 2016 the nominees for the 36th annual BRIT Awards were announced. Counting categories where only British artists are eligible, out of 53 spots available only 5 were filled by acts featuring black artists. And I counted Little Mix twice! Meanwhile, the likes of Adele, James Bay and Years & Years secured 4 nominations each.I’m involved with the UK DIY indie scene where I've had the pleasure of working with unsigned artists as both a blogger and gig promoter in my spare time. From my own experience I know that the BRITs - arguably our nation’s biggest music awards bash - isn't a representative take on British music. Instead, it's a soulless industry pageant where the likes of Olly Murs give out the gongs. For BME artists, the BRITs make it painfully obvious that the glass ceiling doesn't just exist - it's tripled glazed and Simon Cowell's swallowed the key to the lock for good measure.Seriously, did I dream up the past year in music?.. Did JME and Skepta not set up one of the most refreshing years for UK Grime in bare time? Did Stormzy not get rightfully "gassed" when he scooped 'Best Male' and 'Best International Act' at the MOBOs and BET Awards respectively? Did M.I.A. not make the year's boldest artistic statement and comeback of 2015 in one fell swoop giving her two pence on the migrant crisis via her thought-provoking video for 'Borders'? C'mon, BRIT organisers, as this clip illustrates - even OAPs know who Stormzy is! This needs to change. Last month, after the fury of the Oscars similar lack of diversity, the Academy announced it would be taking steps to diversify the voting body. We need to harness this positive momentum and push the BRITS to be truly representative of British music.As a first step I’m calling on the BRITS to publish their voting academy’s diversity figures. Please sign my petition and join me.
Petition to Carey Academy, Birmingham, UK, @CLRGIrishDance, Seamus & Aine O'Se
#Don’t Dance for Israel. #Don’t Shame Our Name. Call off your participation in the "1st Israeli Feis" which ignores the appeal of the Palestinian people to Boycott, Divest and Sanction, BDS, the Apartheid state of Israel.
An Open Appeal to Carey Academy, Seamus & Aine O’Se, @OIDance, Anthony Davis, An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha and all Irish Dancers at home in Ireland and worldwide. The Palestinian activist community based in Ireland has recently learned of your intentions to hold the ‘First Israeli Feis’ in Tel Aviv on 15th August 2015. To say that we, and all other right thinking people, are deeply troubled by this decision is an understatement. In 1948, the state of Israel was established by methodically dispossessing and ethnically cleansing more than 750,000 native Palestinian people in order to create an exclusivist Jewish state. To this day, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees, currently exceeding more than 7 million people, their internationally recognized right to return to their homes. Israel continues unabated and with impunity with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress, and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland and still on a daily basis, they expel native Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and the Negev. This apartheid state maintains over 50 racist laws that discriminate against its “non-Jewish” citizens including over 60,000 African migrants who have crossed into the country seeking shelter as refugees, often fleeing persecution in their home countries. Instead of offering them protection, Israel regards the African migrants as a threat to the “character of the Jewish identity of the state”. Under its racist laws African asylum seekers can and are being imprisoned for up to a year. Even Jews of Ethiopian origin were attacked forcibly this year in Israel when protesting against widespread Israeli discrimination, based on their colour. We could go on and list thousands of examples of Israel’s crimes against humanity. We could tell you all about the siege of Gaza where since 2007, Israel has blockaded a section of Palestine, turning the Gaza Strip into an open air concentration camp, restricting one million Palestinians not only in their movement, but preventing trade and export to and from Gaza and blocking by land, sea and air, foodstuffs, medicines and educational supplies. We could tell you how Israel has over 500 checkpoints and barriers across occupied Palestine and how, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 10% of pregnant Palestinian women were forced to endure labour or childbirth at a checkpoint between 2000 and 2007, resulting in the death of at least 35 babies and five women during the seven-year period We could tell you that Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones, an act which will soon carry a 20 year sentence and three out of four experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system. We could tell you how in the summer of 2014, Israel went on a month long killing spree that left over 2000 defenceless people dead including four little boys who were murdered as they played beach soccer and how Israel recently investigated itself and found itself ‘not guilty’ of this crime. We could tell you more. But will you listen? Or will you go ahead with your performance in Israel, the moral equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. Will you be the voice for the Palestinian people who have asked the world to boycott Israel in an effort to bring pressure upon this rotten, apartheid, criminal state? Please don’t stand on the wrong side of history. Don’t Dance for Israel. Don’t Shame Our Name. Sincerely, Irish Palestinian Activists Collective
Petition to Mr Andrew Travers, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Take action against the neo-Nazi demonstration planned for 4th July in Golders Green
We, the undersigned: Call on the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to exercise his powers under section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 to restrict the planned neo-Nazi demonstration in Golders Green to be held: At a location away from Golders Green and other residential areas; At a date and time not during the Jewish sabbath; and For a short time with a small number of demonstrators. Call on the Metropolitan Police Service and Barnet Council to apply for an injunction under Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to ban the organisers and speakers for the planned neo-Nazi demonstration in Golders Green from: Entering Golders Green; Making or causing to be made or distributing any statement or image likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress; and Holding any kind of public assembly within two hundred metres of a synagogue, Jewish cemetery, or Jewish community or cultural centre.