READ: IN SOLIDARITY

In solidarity:

Revd Jarel Robinson

@blkoutuk, @HouseofRainbow

We are individuals and organisations who hold the interests of our Black LGBTQ siblings dear to our hearts.

To whom it may concern . . .

This week we have seen the best of us – exemplified by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, and the worst of us in those who would take any and every opportunity, to stir up racist and homophobic sentiment among their peers, and fear and alienation among LGBTQ+ and/or people of colour.

In a time of heightened tension, when we are all asked to simply ‘be kind’, we have seen our brother Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown’s life and livelihood threatened, over a swiftly deleted tweet – a social media mistake – one that was poorly timed, and one for which he made a sincere apology.

There has been much talk about the responsible use of social media platforms and the duty of care that publishers have to those People of Colour who are exposed to the racialised vitriol and bile that passes for debate online. Our society seems to have reached new lows when those population groups at greatest risk of fatal infection, or deteriorating mental health on lockdown, are sought out to threaten with violence, and subjected to horrific online abuse – simply because they express an unpopular thought. Even when they apologise.

This must be the ‘cancel’ culture that we are often accused of indulging in.

As a group we know all too well the experience of being punished more harshly for actions less serious than the white people around us, from maternity ward, to school, at university, when applying for a job, or seeking recourse to justice, or in the graduate trainee programme, FTSE 100 boardroom, even in the polluted air in our neighbourhoods. This week, even when missing a shot at goal.

Around this date, a year ago, some were bold enough to whisper, ‘we’re all in this together’ – five weeks into 2021 and the chants of ‘Black Queer Lives Matter’ appear already long forgotten.

We also know all too well those who claim to be allies and to care, who go missing in action at these times – bad enough when politicians remain silent about the abuse piled on their Black and Asian colleagues – we would expect more from those who have taken holy orders like Revd Robinson-Brown’s colleagues.

While it would be miraculous for the poorly timed, the insensitive, or even factually wrong comments never to appear again , we are not seeking miracles , we make mistakes, we learn, we move towards accountability– we would, however, appreciate it if Black or LGBTQ+ people’s mistakes were judged no more harshly than those of White people, and our sincere apologies accepted without veiled threats of sexual violence or demands for forced deportation.