Our statement on the #BlackLivesMatter movement
We didn’t feel it was appropriate to rush in with a statement without having the time to consider our position. Last night (June 9th) was the first time the entire Long Division Team have been able to get together (albeit virtually) since February and the #BlackLivesMatter situation was on the agenda.
As individuals, we have all reflected in our own ways, and continue to do so. We stand in solidarity with those peacefully and powerfully protesting to encourage action and change in our society.
Although many have followed Long Division for almost ten years, we have only existed as a formal organisation for just over 2 years. Prior to Covid-19 we were, for the first time, getting down on paper our core values and beliefs, and figuring out how this should inform our work. We aim to represent the city in which we are based and support people to find their voice. The conversation around #BlackLivesMatter must inform this thinking as we go forwards.
We ask for your patience and understanding while we try to get this right. This is a time for reflection, to listen and to learn. We aren’t going to make vague proclamations on social media, or promises we are unable to deliver. Social Media can be awfully polarising, which dissuades the kind of thoughtful and considered discussion so desperately needed. Quick answers and soundbites are also the hallmarks of the populist governments causing so much damage in the world right now. We will not contribute to a society that communicates in that surface-level way.
I want to type that it is ‘obvious’ that Black Lives Matter and that it ‘goes without saying’ that the battle for equality and recognition is a just one. But you only need to step onto social media to see that in depressingly large sections of society that is not an opinion that is widely held.
And the idea that #BLM ‘goes without saying’ is perhaps our biggest failing – as societies, as communities and here within the digital walls of Long Division. It needs to be said, to be shouted and most importantly, it needs to be heard.
This is our first day of collective reflection on what Black Lives Matter means to us at Long Division. We can’t offer you answers because we need to figure out what the right questions are. But they will revolve around the people who form our core team, those we work with less regularity such as freelancers, artists, organisations and sponsors, how we communicate and engage with our communities and the kind of society we want to create and nurture.
Once more, we send our love and solidarity to those speaking up and speaking out, and challenging the status quo for positive action and change.
Black Lives Matter.
Dean Freeman, on behalf of Team Long Division.