I’m sure that all members will join me to express deep distress at the death of George Floyd, and their support for all those affected by his death and their legitimate right to protest without violence to draw attention to the need to address urgently historic and systemic racial discrimination.
This brutal unnecessary murder in Minneapolis has caused grief, anger and has sent shockwaves across the globe including here in the UK. There has been deep public concern expressed about the ingrained institutional racism that exists against Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people not just in the USA but also in this country too. The Black Lives Matter protests are of such a scale that has not been seen since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.
The root cause of the protests is the systemic disadvantage suffered by the Black community. That disadvantage manifests itself socially, educationally, in health outcomes, and in opportunities for employment for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities.
Systemic disadvantage has been further highlighted by anxieties about the Covid-19 pandemic where research shows it has disproportionately affected Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities with higher mortality and infection rates.
Across the world, countries, organisations, and institutions have pledged not only to express their deep hurt, distress and revulsion of racial discrimination but to take action to eradicate its pernicious effect, this is a pivotal moment where silence is not an option for any one of us.
We must move beyond compliance, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must act on being systemically and overtly anti-racist.
Anti-racism like any form of progression must be consciously intentional, it must be more than a declaration it must be a demonstration. To champion this fight against racism we must listen and learn from members of our communities and use these conversations and dialogue to catalyse action and change.
I leave you with a thought, why is ending racism even a debate?
Chris Knight, National Executive Council Member, Community
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