Hackney MPs throw support behind Black Lives Matter movement
PUBLISHED: 11:28 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:08 03 June 2020
Hackney MPs have thrown their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement as tensions escalate following the death of a black man in America.
Protests have been held across the world following the killing of George Floyd, who died after a white policemen knelt on his neck and George shouted “I can’t breathe”.
Writing for Labour List, Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said institutional racism is “fundamentally familiar” : “The roots of racism in America are far too deep. So periodically black men in America continue to die at the hands of the state and periodically anguished communities take to the street in protest.”
She pointed out BAME people have also been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The British political class need not think that it could not happen here. All the elements that have generated a wave of civil unrest in America are present in the UK: the terrible coronavirus death toll amongst black people; a history of a disproportionate use of force against black people by the state; institutional racism generally; and a national leader who shows no understanding or empathy about issues of race,” she added.
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This comes as Hackney Stand Up To Racism and Facism was scheduled to hold a vigil for George outside Hackney Town Hall on June 3.
Hackney Town Hall was also lit up on the evening of June 2 in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, prompting Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier to tweet: “Tonight Hackney turns purple in memory of George Floyd. His death must renew our determination to tackle racism the world over. #solidarity.”
The borough’s mayor Philip Glanville and his cabinet released a statement: “Hackney has a strong tradition of standing up to racism and we are a proud, diverse borough but the death of Mr Floyd highlights the injustices faced by black communities and how vital it is that we never stop fighting discrimination and hate.
“This awful event happened thousands of miles away in the USA, but we know that there have been events much closer to home over the years that have caused similar anger and distress.”
Hackney’s Rabbi Herschel Gluck, who received OBE for his services to interfaith understanding, also commented on the situation: “The cry of ‘I can’t breathe’, gave voice to the fears and frustration of millions of people in the USA and around the world who feel suffocated and claustrophobic at the denial of their basic human rights and dignity, to be treated as people created in the image of G-d [sic], to be able to breathe free!
“At this time of mighty upheaval and the beginning of a new post Covid-19 era, we must stand by one another and with one another to ensure that every person without exception should be able to breathe free.”
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