I stand in solidarity with people fighting for justice against racism in the United States and across the world, including the UK after 46-year-old unarmed black man George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday 25 May 2020.
If the incident of white police officer Derek Chauvin suffocating George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while George was handcuffed face down in the road not been captured on film, it would probably have been covered up with Mr Chauvin getting away with it with impunity like most other cases of police brutality against black people. My thoughts and condolences are with George Floyd’s grieving family and friends.
Across the Atlantic in England and Wales, Afro-Caribbean and Asian people have been disproportionately impacted by deaths following police contact. Rashan Charles, Kevin Clarke and Sean Rigg were black British men who died whilst in policy custody. There has been a high level of deaths from COVID-19 among Black, Asian Minority Ethnic people in the UK. There has been an increase in police using tasers against people of colour. George’s last words, like those said by Eric Garner in July 2014, and many people who have died in such circumstances were “I can’t breathe” – this symbolises the feeling of those who suffer from deep-rooted structural and systemic racism.
This should be a wake-up call to politicians that there must be change to tackle the racial disparities in the police force, the criminal justice system and wider society to achieve social justice and equality! I am also very concerned that Labour members are resigning their membership due to the failure to suspend any senior Party officials for the racism, sexism, bullying and harassment exposed by the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014–2019. I call on the Labour leadership to support the demonstrations, express solidarity and look at the changes needed in our country starting with the increasing disillusionment of Black and Asian communities with the Labour Party.
I support the determination of protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement and endorse their Vigil at 2 pm on Monday 8 June in Pittville Park, Cheltenham: https://www.facebook.com/events/271760483876296/.
BAME Representative on Regional Executive Committee
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this statement is that of a local Party member and do not necessarily reflect the Labour Party.