A Message from Melodic Distraction
Recent events across the USA have highlighted the importance for us all to actively recognise and stand up to the violence of systemic racism across the world.
We stand in unilateral solidarity with those protesting against Black oppression worldwide. Indifference and inaction towards racism is unacceptable and the UK is not innocent. We can only work within the spheres of our own influence. Let’s protest if we can. Let’s donate if we can. Let’s write to our MPs. Let’s demand support for the Black Lives Matter campaign. Let’s demand investigations into the deaths, unfair detainment and deportation of Black and marginalised people in the UK – Belly Mujinga, the residents of Grenfell Tower, the Windrush Generation, the 1500 and counting.
Let’s demand that the UK stops selling tear gas and rubber bullets to the US to be used on protestors. Let’s instigate change in our own lives and our immediate communities.
On last week’s Blackout Tuesday, we took time to learn more about our privilege and talk as a team to decide on how we as a small music organisation can effect change and be more actively anti-racist in our immediate surroundings. Now we have taken stock, we understand that as a platform with a voice, however modest, we should be sharing what we plan to do to remain accountable but also, perhaps, to encourage others into action too. Here are some actions we are taking as an organisation and as a community in the short term and long term.
Support for Protestors
Last Tuesday there was a well attended anti-racism protest in Liverpool organised by the Firefly Fighters. For those protesters now self-isolating, we’d like to offer our support and assistance. We are on hand to pick up and drop off things you may need if you are unable to leave the house. We are mainly based in Central and South Liverpool, and can cover assistance in L3, L1, L4, L8, L7, L17, L5, L6, L15, L18 and L19.
We have made a donation to Stop Hate UK, a national charity that is working locally to challenge hate crime and discrimination. We have also changed all donation points on our website to direct people to their website.
We are about to launch a merchandise range and have decided that 10% of all profits from this range will be donated to Stop Hate UK. We have also selected one specific item from this campaign that will have 100% of its profits being donated to Stop Hate UK.
Artists & Presenters
Much of the music we listen to and play on our station stems from Black communities all the way through history. It fills our lives with emotion, education and connections.The diversity of our roster is one of the key areas where we fall down. This requires nurturing and attention to ensure we are open to all artists, participators and listeners.
At present there are still many communities and individuals we should have a stronger relationship with and we intend to build these relationships over the coming months and years. Instead of short-term platforming, we are focused on longer term, deeper-rooted relationships, in order to create genuine and meaningful progress. We aim to do this by developing a focused physical outreach programme across Liverpool & The North West.
This plan also extends to our workforce and the freelancers we work with. Like many small businesses, we’ve grown by turning to our friends when we’ve needed freelancers or additional work. To date, upon reflection, the majority of our collaborators have been white and we want to ensure that we are more representative going forward.
Through engaging in public callouts and reaching beyond our immediate contacts, we’ve decided that in each new project we will always work with at least one person that we have not commissioned before in efforts to expand our workplace diversity.We will be conducting an annual diversity audit to track our progress which will be made publically available on our website, along with our diversity and inclusivity practices.
During our radio blackout on Tuesday we turned our website into a portal for resources – which is now pinned to the top of our website – but we decided to develop this idea of community learning and resource sharing into a more permanent, offline, part of the station. When it is safe to return to our studio, we will be building a small library in the space so that we can lend resources and literature to our community. We will be purchasing a number of titles on a variety of social justice topics specifically for the little library.
To date, we have been privileged enough that we have never had recourse to draw up a public policy regarding our process should we witness a discriminatory or hateful incident within the studio. Now is the time to make our stance crystal clear. Melodic Distraction stands for respect, compassion and kindness. We will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour on our airwaves, on our online platforms or in our studio. This includes racism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, sexism, misogynoir, xenophobia or any other form of discrimination or hate.
Where we see discriminatory behaviour going on, we will act and not stand quietly by. If you ever hear or see something that our team misses, please approach us – either anonymously or in-person – and we’ll take steps to resolve the issue.These steps are just the beginning – we realise that this will be an ongoing effort. We want to open the floor to you too.
If you have ideas, questions or feedback, please reach out to us.
We will listen.