Hundreds gather for Hackney Black Lives Matter vigil
PUBLISHED: 15:24 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 04 June 2020
Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in Hackney following the death of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis .
Hackney Stand Up To Racism and Facism (SUTR) organised a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall on June 3 in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The campaign has gained momentum in America after a policeman killed a man called George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
SUTR’s socially-distanced vigil, which was attended by about 500 people, featured speakers including SUTR’s Dean Ryan, Hackney councillors Soraya Adejare (Dalston ward) and Susan Jumoke Fajana-Thomas (Stoke Newington ward), and Oktay Sahbaz of the Daymer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre.
Cllr Fajana-Thomas tweeted: “Amazing and moving...This evening’s event outside Hackney Town Hall organised by @hackneysutr.
“Thanks to everyone that attended.”
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Demonstrators also heard from Hackney National Education Union’s president Des Barrow, who spoke about how black children in Hackney face extra hurdles throughout their school life, and well-known campaigner Patrick Vernon.
Hackney SUTR member Sasha Simic said: “It was a very positive and respectful meeting and it was uplifting.
“It showed Hackney at its best, it’s a fantastic diverse community and it showed that.”
He pointed out the issue is not purely an American one, with instances of black people dying in police custody in the UK as well.
Sasha added: “Silence is almost an endorsement. Racism is a cancer that if you don’t confront it, will poison the whole community no matter where it comes from.”
The group plan to hold an online rally for Black Lives Matter on June 7 at 6pm. Visit Hackney SUTR’s Facebook page to find out more.
This comes as Hackney Town Hall was lit up purple in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on the evening of June 2 alongside other local protests.
For example, volunteers and workers at Safedale Pharmacy on Stoke Newington’s Church Street took the knee at 6pm on June 3 to show their support.
There have been other demonstrations around London, including in Hyde Park and outside Downing Street.
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