Statement From The Salford Labour Party Bame Group
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu.
The quote above from Desmond Tutu compels us, members of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in Salford to speak up and indeed should compel us all to do so. We grieve with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The first murdered by three white men while jogging through his neighbourhood, the second murdered in her sleep by police officers who mistook her identity and the last also dying at the hands of police officers kneeling on his neck for over 8 minutes whilst he pleaded for his life. It is our sincerest hope that those responsible for these horrific murders and quite honestly lynching are held accountable.
It is apparent that racism is systemic in the United States of America and members of the BAME community are overwhelmingly viewed as second class citizens. The current rhetoric and actions from the sitting president of the USA in the wake of the uprisings in Minneapolis is not surprising, but rather shows the cracks in their democracy. Of course we, presently in the UK also suffer from institutional racism, one not at the moment akin to the deadly and public murder of George Floyd but one of a slow death; where BAME communities are persistently profiled by the police and disproportionately suffer from discriminatory practices in their places of work and in their ability to access public services.
We acknowledge the statement of the North West BAME group standing shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues across the Atlantic, demanding swift justice and calls for urgent reforms within police forces across both sides of the Atlantic. We also recognise the statement by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its three point proposals to addressing the under-representation of the BAME community, the structural inequalities that presently place the BAME community at the mercy of COVID-19 and its commitment to report on the use of policing powers. We welcome these commitments, but will like to place emphasis on the first point, that of addressing under-representation of the BAME community within decision-making in Greater Manchester. We would like a firm commitment to funding various schemes like Operation Black Vote’s leadership programme as well as a substantial discussion on quotas.
We need to get our house in order. We must all show solidarity. To our white Britons and Americans, it is never a wrong time to talk about institutional racism and when you hear the chant Black Lives Matter, it is not one that promotes hate for you. It simply implores that the system ought to be radically changed to work for both white and black persons fairly. Of course we know all lives matter, the simple fact is that equality amongst the races has been called for, for over hundreds of years and now we demand action. SOLIDARITY
Members of the Salford Labour Party BAME group:
Councillor Wilson Nkurunziza, Salford BAME Chair
Irfan Syed Salford BAME Vice Chair
Councillor Sharmina August, Executive Support for Equalities, Communities and Social Impact
Nathaniel Tetteh, PCC for Eccles, GMB Representative, North West Labour Party BAME Committee
Alexis Murura Shama, PCC for Weaste and Seedley
Elizabeth Cameron, Vice Chair North West Labour Party BAME Committee
Councillor Robert Sharpe