In the summer of 2020, hundreds of you emailed me, angry about the deaths of George Floyd in the United States, and Belly Mujinga here in the UK. I share your anger.
The images from the US of heavily armed Police Officers breaking up peaceful protesters calling for racial equity, and the sad death of a key worker here in the UK doing her job, were devastating.
Labour called for an immediate halt to the sale and export of riot control equipment to the US until a review can be carried out to establish their use, and Keir Starmer raised the Government’s lack of condemnation in the House of Commons.
Our alliance with the United States is based on values which we share with the American people, and it is because of these values we should not supply arms to Donald Trump to use against his own people.
Closer to home:
- I have written personally to Priti Patel to demand an investigation into the circumstances around Belly Mujinga’s death – including why she was not given PPE by her employer. You can read the response I have received here. You can also read GTR’s statement following their internal investigation here.
- I wrote to the Home Secretary following the tragic death of Shukri Abdi and you can read the response I received here.
- Labour has launched an enquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community, led by Doreen Lawrence. The Government’s own BAME impact review shows that BAME communities are significantly more likely to be affected by Covid-19, and I will be working to ensure the Government acts on this with the urgency it deserves. This report prepared for the Parliamentary debate on the effect of Covid-19 on BAME communities provides some helpful information.
I know that this is not enough, and we must do more to challenge systemic racism here and abroad.
- I have written to the Education Secretary to ask him to meet with BAME academics and hold an urgent review into the curriculum to ensure BAME voices are heard, and BAME history is taught. This is a small, but vital, step. You can read my letter here. You can also receive the response I received here.
- I have also written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to raise my concerns about the use of stop and search and you can read a copy of the response I received here.
I can assure you I will continue working for a future free of racism and bigotry.