Mr Potts Assembly - BLM & Pride Month

I know that over the past week or so that many of you have – like me – been moved by the media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement and the disturbing images that have appeared on the news, night after night.

It’s important though that we all understand the deep historical context behind these events and why the focus has – quite rightly – been focused on Black Lives, rather than all lives. Speaking as someone of white British heritage, my ancestors never experienced having their homelands invaded and colonised, my ancestors were never taken from their homes and their families and never had their culture, language and identity stripped away from them. And my ancestors were never treated like cattle and forced into generations of slavery and oppression.

My ancestors weren’t denied access to education or basic human rights and were never discriminated against by law. And, unlike at least 30,000 black men across the United States of America, none of my ancestors was the subject of a brutal, racist murder.

That’s why, although all life is precious, all of us should support the Black Lives Matter campaign and stand shoulder against racism and all forms of prejudice.
Whilst we seek a more just and equal world, it’s just as important that those same universal rights apply to everyone. This month also sees us stand together in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride and – just as we stand opposed to racism – we should also oppose, with equal force, the evil of homophobia.

People often – wrongly – ask ‘Why do we need ‘Gay Pride,’ there’s no ‘Straight Pride.’ But, again, these people miss the same key point as some do with ‘Black Lives Matter.’

As a straight man, I have never had to endure prejudice or hatred because of my sexuality. As a straight man, I’ve never had to worry about ‘coming out’ to my family or being accepted by my friends because of who I choose to love or be loved by. And, as a straight man, I’ve never once had to experience fear, shame or embarrassment, simply for being me.

Most critically, as a straight man, I could be excused for overlooking the fact that being gay is still a crime in 73 countries and, in at least five of those countries, can still be punishable by death.
That’s why Pride is so important and why it will continue be important until experiences like those are consigned to the history books.

Martin Luther King once said: "no one is free until we are all free." By the same logic, unless we are all given equality, none of us can have equality. That’s why it’s so important for all of us, in our wonderfully diverse and inclusive community at Fulneck, stand proud in our support of Black Lives Matter and Pride and why it’s so essential that we use our positions of privilege to go out and Make a Positive Difference in the world.

Thank you for listening. Take Care. I’ll see you all soon.

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