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Our response to Euros racism

15th July 2021

It may seem like a lifetime ago that the nation sat on the edge of the sofa as Euro 2020 was decided by the dreaded penalty shootout, but what has kept the memory alive over the past week has not been the final score but the subsequent reaction.  I’m not a football fan, and I have to admit I didn’t watch the match, but I was appalled at what happened next.

However, I was also heartened by how swiftly the anti-racist backlash grew. The defaced mural of Marcus Rashford in his hometown of Manchester was swiftly repaired by street artist Akse P19 and soon covered in hundreds of messages of heartfelt support, with protesters gathering peacefully in solidarity with the English team. A petition to permanently ban racists from attending future football matches has since gained well over 1 million signatures, and anti-racist discourse is once again at the very forefront of many conversations, both public and private. This gives me hope that the forces of anti-racism have grown since being brought into greater public consciousness by last year’s BLM movement, and that increasingly people feel that they can, and will, speak out against racism today.

Everyone who believes in eradicating racism must reflect and consider what they will do to ensure that everyone is accepted and treated equally.  We at Music Mark stand against racism and will continue to work hard to ensure that we, and our membership, commit to being anti-racist and actively support those who experience racial discrimination.

Over the past year at Music Mark we have been challenged to think about our response to the Black Lives Matter movement as a charity, but also as a membership organisation.  We have started on a journey, supported by colleagues from across our membership, and by the wonderful Sam Stimpson (who researched and wrote a report for us on racial diversity in the Music Education workforce), but we know this is just the first step.

What we do ourselves and how we support our membership is part of this and we will continue to work towards ensuring that music education is governed, delivered, accessed and resourced appropriately; to support provision that is available to all, is diverse, and most importantly, is inclusive. We look forward to sharing some of this work with you later this year. Until then, we will be working through the provocations in the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Report, and invite our membership and the wider sector to do the same.

Bridget Whyte
CEO of Music Mark