Black Lives Matter

My speech at the Black Lives Matter rally at Lordship Recreational Ground in Tottenham on Sunday 14 June 2020:

Brothers and sisters, I am a Labour Councillor in Noel Park. I bring you solidarity from Cllr Joe Ejiofor, leader of the council and from the Muslim community.

I thank you all for your solidarity and for coming here today. We have all been outraged by the racist, brutal murder of Brother George Floyd, which has sparked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement across the world.

I have heard people say on social media that “Surely all lives matter”

We have not said that Only Black Lives Matter.

We know that all lives matter, but we need your help today with this movement, with this struggle, because black lives are in danger.

Black people are dying at the hands of the police not just in America but in the UK as well. This is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on for decades.

Today, we are standing in the shadows of Broadwater Farm. In 1985, Cynthia Jarrett, a black woman died after police officers went into her home without a search warrant, without knocking on her door, without announcing themselves. The police said that she fell and died. The family said that the police pushed her. Coroner said that it was an accidental push that killed her. Cynthia Jarrett died at the hands of the police. This led the events in 1985 known as the Broadwater Farm riots.

In 1998, Christopher Alder, a black British army paratrooper was killed in a police station in Hull. CCTV footage showed that he was lying with his face down motionless with his trousers around his ankles. Police officers were stood around laughing, for 10 minutes while died. All the police officers were acquitted of all charges.

In 2008, Sean Rigg died at the hands of the police at police station in Brixton. No police officers were prosecuted.

In 2011, Kingsley Burrell died while detained by the police in Brimingham. Again, no police officers were found guilty.

In 2011, Mark Duggan was shot dead in Tottenham.

In 2017, Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles were murdered at the hands of the police.

In 2017, Darren Cumberbatch was punched repeatedly, beaten with a baton and Taserered by police. His family are still waiting to hear if anyone will be prosecuted.

Just two weeks ago, Simeon Francis was found dead in a police cell in Devon.

These are all black people. You know what? The list is too long. These names are just the tip of the ice berg.

Over the last 50 years, only one police officer has been convicted for their role in the death of someone in police custody. They only received a suspended sentence.

My white brothers and sisters, let’s talk about white privilege. There is in-built structural racism that white people will never be subjected to. Black people are half as likely to be prescribed pain medication as white people. Just think about that. The system does not think black people feel pain the same as way as our white counterparts. Black women are five times more likely to die during childbirth.

Black people are twice as likely to die due to Covid-19.

White people are twice as likely to get job interviews with the identical qualifications as their black counterparts. Just for being white.

As we remember those who died in the Grenfell fire, we can also see white privilege in action trying to protect the system. Nothing has happened after 3 years.

Let’s work together to fight the in-built racism in our society and let’s say loudly and clearly, Black Lives Matter. Join Stand Up to Racism. This struggle must continue. Volunteer. Attend online organising sessions.

Finally, let us all support the Black Pound Day on 27 June. Haringey Council will become the first local authority in the country to support Black Pound Day.

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