We stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, family all over the world, in the fight against prejudice, racism and discrimination. As many of you have seen, the murder of George Floyd in America has sparked outrage across the globe and opened up the broader conversation of discrimination against members of the BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) community.
While many people continue to deny racism exist’s today, in reality, it can be seen in every part of our society. We don’t have to look further than our government to see a racist agenda where the Prime Minister is accustomed to spouting racist remarks himself; describing members of the BAME community as, “Picanninies” with “Watermelon smiles” or describing Muslim women who choose to wear a Niqab as ‘Letterboxes’ and ‘Bank robbers’. We see today ‘The Windrush generation’, British citizens, lifelong workers in our schools, our hospitals and our communities, people we call our colleagues, our friends, our family deported to places they do not know. We see the marginalised communities in Britain who are 40x more likely to be stopped and searched by a Police Officer. And we see the lack of care, thought, consideration for our BAME Keyworkers, today, who are on the frontline in the NHS, in Supermarkets, keeping our public transport going, who are up to 4.2x more likely to die of Coronavirus but were yet to be offered any support or even classed as vulnerable 12 weeks into Lockdown.
Since the Black Live Matters protests have started many notable BAME figures in British culture, have spoken out. The actor Noel Clarke who was one on the main characters in the film ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ based in Cornwall, was missed off the film cover despite his name being listed at the very top and all his white counterparts shown on the cover. Starwars and Attack The Block actor John Boyega spoke out at a BLM rally in Hyde Park, but now admits he fears for his future career after speaking out. Racism isn’t always as overt as people may think, it can be hidden behind a curtain, one that rarely gets drawn back until someone is brave enough.
The Labour Party have already taken action against the horrific scenes we’ve seen on the streets in America. Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central along with 100s of other MPs has led the call for our government to introduce a ban on all exports of British made Tear gas, riot equipment and rubber bullets. All of these have been misused by US law enforcement.
We see such a volatile situation in the States, it’s not just questions about George Floyd we should be raising, but questions about equality, equity, respect and tolerance for all. We need to stand up and ensure that those accountable are held to justice wherever racism and bigotry raises its ugly head. We need to focus our energy and build bridges, connecting our communities; we don’t need to build walls. And finally, we need to challenge the thoughts and beliefs of those around us, whether that be our government; our neighbours or those we work with, to ensure that everyone has an equal chance in our society no matter their religion, colour, gender, background or sexual orientation. We need to ensure that prejudice is challenged so that its pernicious and hateful consequences are dispunged and eradicated from everyday life.
We support the #BLM.
South East Cornwall Labour Party.
Edited versions of this statement were published in The Western Morning News and The Cornish Times, June 2020.