+++ Black Lives Matter and PD+++

We asked members of the BAME LARPers UK Community to help us craft a statement expressing our solidarity and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. These are primarily their words which we stand behind 100%.

Real-world discrimination is as unacceptable at our games as real-world violence. Profound Decisions will not tolerate discrimination or harassment at our events. Our full equality and diversity statement can be found here: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/equalityanddiversity

With the recent worldwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Armaud Arbery amongst others killed through the continued systematic racism against the black community, this is not a time to be quiet, but a time to speak up. We unequivocally condemn all those enacting and enabling racial violence, and all those who wilfully ignore it.

Though the most recent protests began with these deaths overseas, we know that this issue affects our own community here in the UK, with black people twice as likely to die in police custody[1], 4.6x as likely to die from coronavirus[2], 37x as likely to be stopped and searched[3], 44x as likely to be detained under the mental health act[4] and 8.7x more likely to have been fined by police under new lock-down laws[5].

In LARP we deal with escapism and fantasy, ways to explore worlds and lives that we never thought possible. To ensure that the LARP community continues to be at the forefront of inclusivity, Profound Decisions will be using the upcoming months to examine how we can use our platform to create better lives and a better world for everyone. In Empire, we have built a game based on themes that mirror a real world history of imperial colonialism, and recognising these limitations is the first step in moving forward to a future where more people of colour are welcomed and included in our hobby.

Whilst Profound Decisions try to ensure our events are an inclusive space for this escapism, we recognise that we have not always listened to the voices of minorities as well as we should have, and have not been as diligent as we could have been in ensuring that their concerns have been met. Acknowledging the platform we have, we want to use it as an opportunity to speak out about these real-world issues, whilst we recognise that some aspects of our game have been interpreted by players in ways that are reflections of the systemic oppression of the real world. Profound Decisions have previously taken a more hands-off approach in dealing with these issues due to a desire not to be too prescriptive in how players can and cannot interpret our setting, but moving forward we shall be more explicit about what is and is not permissible. We will be using the coming months to examine more ways to ensure our events reflect our ideals and for all our players and crew to feel safe.

For now, Profound Decisions will be taking a number of steps.

We’ve made a donation to Black Lives Matter UK to support those who are engaged with these issues. Under normal circumstances we only ever donate to support charities and causes anonymously but in this instance we think the principle of publicly supporting this crucial issue outweighs the need to avoid the problems involved with public donations by companies.

We’re looking to commission a black artist to produce some paid pieces for a new project that we’ve working on. The project has been stuck for a while and this is a perfect opportunity to invite a black artist to work with us move it forwards. If you’re an artist and a person of colour from the LRP community, please talk to us.

We’ve asked Cat Prescott to be part of our wider team providing us with guidance, feedback, insight and experience on these matters. This statement couldn’t have happened without her and we believe we can produce a better, more inclusive game by working with her on these issues going forwards.

We’re encouraging anyone who is interested in writing plot for Empire to get in touch. We have been slowly building a better infrastructure for supporting new writers, so it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. But we’d love to have a chance to incorporate the the work of black writers and showcase artists and photographers on the wiki if we can.

Profound Decisions recognises the responsibility to better listen to the concerns of marginalised groups when issues are first brought to our attention and the need to take action both on unacceptable conduct at our events and in any game elements we can change when people come to us with feedback. We can always do better, and properly listening to our player base is going to be the best place to start. This statement was written in collaboration with Aleaha Stuart, Beth Davies, Cat Prescott and Nathanael Rouillard and supported by members of BAME LARPers UK, including Mantaj Kaur Panesar, Mark Shelby, Melany Carter-Groves and Russell Smith. LARPers from ethnic minority backgrounds can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1473359032797415/ Please note that the group is not currently accepting allies and is space specifically for an under-represented group within the LARP community

#BlackLivesMatter

If you are interested, here are some ways you can help:

Write to your local MP, petitioning to stop sale of tear gas, arms and weaponry from the UK to US police forces, condemning police brutality both here and in the USA and demanding urgent action to address and dismantle the structures that perpetuate systemic racism here in the UK.

Share social media posts from black activists and creators. Use your platform to amplify black and brown voices and to push back at racism where you see it.

Film any incidents you witness – evidence is a powerful tool, both in court and on social media.

Support black businesses, artists and writers – especially since independent businesses are likely to be struggling during the pandemic.

Donate to funds for bail and legal fees for protestors, such as http://KnowYourRightsCamp.com/legal or https://bailproject.org/ - freedom should be free.

Check this list of “ways you can help” with education resources - https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ and further resources listed here: https://moreblminfo.carrd.co/

These articles also list ways you can get involved from the UK and links to a number of charities both in the UK and abroad to donate to and/or volunteer your time with, including Black Lives Matter UK, the Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund, Belly Mujinga’s funeral fund, Black Minds Matter, the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the Black Curriculum and INQUEST:
https://inews.co.uk/news/donate-black-lives-matter-charities-where-uk-george-floyd-death-bail-funds-2873850
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/how-to-support-anti-racist-charities-uk-black-lives-matter-a9545986.html

Here are some resources recommended for further education on these issues:

https://www.meandwhitesupremacybook.com

https://medium.com/@rh.../letter-to-a-white-man-fbe6efd908b9

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/why-im-no-longer-talking-to-white-people-about-race-9781408870587/

This free google drive of educational resources that is being collectively built by activists: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aYPe21Rve3YPpozxZJE4C3WfWCvkvo_pyXkdzOARxho/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR1xbKEyU1gYU5BaPfUhQcRh7xzQvfR_FFGUeWUrIMn7XhjGo-hfvQsu1lo

Sources for UK statistics referenced above:
[1] Independent Police Complaints Commission, “Deaths During or Following Police Contact”, Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census
[2] Data from the office of National Statistics. More here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/04/genetics-bame-people-die-coronavirus-structural-racism
[3] Fullfact.org “Stop and Search, are black people over-represented” Institute of Race Relations
[4] The Mental Health Foundation, “The Fundamental Facts”, item by the Noun Project
[5] Freedom of Information data reported on here: https://novaramedia.com/2020/05/29/bame-people-are-more-likely-to-have-been-fined-for-breaking-lockdown-across-the-country-foi-data-shows/

10 Likes