Over the last few weeks I’ve been shocked and appalled by the recent events that have unfolded in the US and the brutal murder of George Floyd. I’ve been overwhelmed by emails about the protests and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. I share your anger.
Trump’s response to peaceful protest and demands for justice have been an affront to humanity. What is so tragic about the death of George Floyd is that the injustices we are seeing are nothing new and certainly are not confined to the United States alone. This has shone a spotlight on systemic and institutional racism, inequality and injustice across the world.
But what we are rightly seeing in America and here in the UK are people standing in solidarity and saying enough is enough. I too, stand in solidarity with black communities and will always challenge racism, inequality and discrimination. We all have a responsibility to call out racism in all its forms and wherever we see it. The Black Lives Matter movement, built on tragedy, must be a catalyst for change to address the systemic racial discrimination that plagues our society. We cannot and must not accept anything less.
In your email you rightly point to some immediate actions that can and should be taken. Last week with over 160 MPs from all parties I wrote to Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, calling for an end to the export of items such as tear gas and rubber bullets to the USA while an investigation takes place into their use. The Labour Leader Keir Stamer has also written an urgent letter to the Prime Minister about this issue. The UK Government needs to take action on this matter.
We cannot ignore the fact that inequality, injustice and discrimination are matters in our society and not just elsewhere in the world, and the response in the UK to the killing of George Floyd is a clear call for action here as well as in the US.
There are some immediate actions that can and need to be taken, and following the reports that have confirmed that BAME groups have been disproportionally affected by Covid-19 I strongly support a proper inquiry to investigate and propose an urgent plan to address this matter. I welcome the steps being taken by Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, to learn from and address this matter in Wales. I am also in favour of the new Welsh education curriculum incorporating more black history to ensure the contribution of BAME communities is fully recognised.
Labour stands with black communities across the world and here in Cardiff too. I would very much welcome your thoughts on steps that we can take together to ensure the Black Lives Matter campaign results in the necessary changes we want to see in our own community.