Over recent months – like so many others – members of HGN have been saddened to recognise the level of systemic racism so present in our culture and, too often, our tacit complicity with it. And although the tragic death of George Floyd drew our attention, we have been equally appalled by instances of racial abuse and discrimination within the UK. We are also very aware of the tensions that exist within Herefordshire of intolerance for our European migrant workers. 

As a predominantly white movement in a still predominantly white county it is perhaps even more important that those of us who are white start to recognise our unacknowledged privilege and bias.

In our efforts to effectively address human caused climate breakdown and ecological collapse we must also acknowledge and address fundamental issues of inequality in the world. These are expressions of the same culture of alienation and commodification in our global culture. 

So… we have done some research into what other organisations are doing to support their workers / members, and in the hope that this might be something that is of interest to HGN groups around the county we would like to support our members in setting up their own local Reading Rings. 

Over the summer months we will support these Reading Rings with weekly reading lists, and materials to support discussion. We will also send recommendations of films. These recommendations will be based on support materials that are being used by other organisations in the UK, and on the recommendations of Check Your Privileges / Social Graces.

Your Reading Rings can of course be virtual, or over the summer months you might choose to meet outside in a socially distanced way. If you would like to let us know that you are starting a group please do. Or do just go ahead and use the materials we send out for your own exploration and interest. 

The first materials for discussion will be sent around next week. If you have any questions please email kate@hgnetwork.org

And if you are already interested and would like to dive straight in, here is an address by Akala at Oxford Union in 2015: