Morning Star: ‘Juneteenth’ is our Freedom Day

SARA CALLAWAY AND CRISSIE AMIS FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020

Today we will celebrate the anniversary of our emancipation from slavery by joining the Poor People’s Campaign Digital Gathering, write SARA CALLAWAY and CRISSIE AMIS

Coinciding with the anniversary of emanciptaion in the US, a remarkable wave of protests for racial equality has swept the globe

JUNE 19 commemorates the date — Freedom Day — in 1865 when black people in Texas finally heard the Emancipation Proclamation issued two years earlier, which officially ended slavery in the US. 155 years later, the struggle for racial justice continues.

An unprecedented wave of protests has swept the US and the globe since the modern-day police lynching of George Floyd on May 25 went viral.

Many others have been killed since: Breonna Taylor, shot in her own home; Rayshard Brooks, shot in the back; Tony McDade, a trans black man killed in Florida and Oluwatoyin Salau who spoke for the trans justice movement, to name some of the latest. All were some mother’s precious daughter or son.

Inspired by the US Black Lives Matter movement, injustices are being called out everywhere: Africans in France, Maoris in New Zealand, indigenous in Brazil, aborigines in Australia, and many other countries, with massive support from white anti-racists.

In Haiti, peasant organisations said: “Police here act with the same brutality… especially when we demand our rights. We follow our ancestors as we stand in solidarity with the people of the US, particularly the black community.”

In the Middle East, demonstrators carried photos of Iyad Hallaq, the autistic Palestinian man shot by Israeli police, and George Floyd with the words #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter.

Thousands of US law enforcement officers have trained with Israeli police and military; the knee-to-throat restraint that killed George Floyd is commonly used against Palestinians.

Calls to de-fund and de-militarise the police are now widespread. Los Angeles cut $150m from police budgets to invest in marginalised communities. Minneapolis plans to disband the current force.

In Britain, statues of slavers have been toppled and the government is being called out for its role in slavery, selling tear gas and rubber bullets to US police forces, and complicity with Israel.

Here racism and police violence are also a pandemic. 1,741 deaths in police custody since 1990, at least 500 people of colour.

Calvin Bungisa’s tragic death led to family members being stopped, harassed and treated by police as suspects instead of as a grieving family. Dexter Bristol, a Windrush citizen, collapsed and died after being hounded by immigration officials. A police officer dragged Sarah Reed by her hair, restrained her by the neck while she cried out “I can’t breathe.” In court he was found to have lied about her physically attacking him.

Police also turn up with social workers to take children from their mothers — mostly low-income families, many children of colour, their lives ruined by being snatched from the one who cares for and protects them.

Our immune systems are under attack by everyday violence, bad housing, low wages and the hostile environment. It’s no mystery why Bame people, often key workers, are four times more likely to die of Covid-19.

Women, especially black and immigrant women, put our lives on the line delivering vital care to the public having been told we are “low-skilled,” undeserving of living wages, protective equipment or decent work conditions.

Women do much of the justice and survival work, mostly unrecognised and unwaged: defending families and friends, while resisting institutional violence. Racism doubles our workload.

Like thousands of others, women and men in our network have joined local protests. All of us are angry after years of austerity and a Covid-19 debacle that caused the unnecessary death of tens of thousands. We are all expendable — young, elderly, disabled, especially if we are people of colour. Authorities are more concerned about stock markets than our lives.

It took footballer Marcus Rashford, raised by a single mum, to shame the government into continuing free school meal vouchers for children.

We refuse to beg for scraps. Our labour in the colonies has helped create wealth here for over 500 years. A global Care Income for all carers, starting with mothers, working in the home and on the land, to save people and planet would begin to recognise that debt.

We’ll celebrate Juneteenth by joining the Poor People’s Campaign June 20 Digital Gathering. Not long before his murder, Dr Martin Luther King led the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign against the triple evils of militarism, racism and economic injustice.

Just over 50 years later, the new Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) has picked up this unfinished work, demanding an end to systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism.

The PPC aims to unite the 140 million people in the US who are poor and low-come (almost half the US population). 15 million people do not have running water in their homes; and 70 per cent of the poor are women and children.

In Britain even before the pandemic, 1¼ million people were destitute, and 86 per cent of austerity cuts have targeted women, especially single mothers, and people with disabilities. Yet there is always money for expensive and destructive weapons, which kill and maim all living creatures and destroy environments all over the world.

A strong anti-racist, anti-poverty, anti-militarist, climate justice movement in the US is a power for grassroots people everywhere.

More information on events can be found at www.june2020.org.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/%E2%80%98juneteenth%E2%80%99-our-freedom-day

Mansi Vithlani: BLM LONDON PROTESTS

Guest Articles by Guest Writer – 12/06/2020

BLM London Protests

The Stories of those involved:

Written by Greg Kennedy

After the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis Police officers and countless other cases of racially motivated hate crimes across the US by citizens and police – the UK stood alongside the United States this weekend in a number of Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

People are demanding action against those responsible for the death of George Floyd and other victims of racism across the US. The UK marches put a spotlight on racism here in our own country with protesters demanding justice for those here in the UK.

Thousands of cardboard signs had plastered across them the names of victims of racism in this country including Stephen Lawrence, Belly Mujinga, Shukri Abdi and more. Many were also critical of the systematic racism in place, the police and those currently in charge of the country. 

LONDON PROTESTS:

The vast majority of the protests that took place in Parliament Square on Saturday were generally peaceful. They included protesters calling for justice, kneeling to show solidarity and marching through the busy roads of London.

The centre of the city came to a halt while the masses passed through – much to the delight of the delayed bus drivers and drivers who smashed their horns in support. Some came out onto the roof of their cars to join in with the crowds. While walking through the protests we noticed one woman who climbed on to the roof of her car. She jumped up and down on it so much that the roof of the car had caved in. A pick-up truck loaded with a heavy sound system also made its way through the crowd blasting Pop Smoke and Tupac tunes. 

MAKING A STATEMENT:

People were climbing on bus stops, traffic lights and statues all in an effort to raise their cardboard message the highest.

Towards the end of the day there was some trouble with the protesters. Police had to control parts of the crowd. However, this seemed to be a tiny minority of those involved in the marches and the protests had largely died down. For the most part of the day the police were barely seen and let the crowd go ahead with no issues. 

RACISM IS ALSO A PANDEMIC’:

Matt Hancock and Cressida Dick, who warned against protests the day before, were made to look clowns. Huge amount of people, more than most had predicted, turned up to support Black Lives Matter in London. Despite the ongoing Pandemic, those who turned up felt this issue was more important. They raised signs that read “Racism is also a pandemic”.

After speaking to many of the protesters, there was a general feeling of anger and frustration with the recent events. However, everyone I spoke to also seemed to feel immensely encouraged and motivated about changing attitudes after seeing the amount of people that had come out to protest. This felt like a significant turning point in Britain. Thousands turned up to support Black Lives Matter – and this was despite the ongoing pandemic. 

THOSE INVOLVED:

We talked to lots of those involved to find out more about why these protests are happening and to hear the stories of some of those calling out racism. 

CRISSIE, ACTIVIST SINCE 1985:
BLM London Protests

“How could anybody stay at home huh?! I’ve been campaigning since 1985 for justice, for black and immigrant people, for asylum seekers, for women in particular because we’re invisible in the social justice movements.

We’ve been making sure our voices are heard because of the terrible thing that happened to not only George Floyd but the other sisters and brothers in the US who for years have been slaughtered and those here in the UK who’ve been killed by police – who then get away with it. 

This kind of crowd that’s come out, as they have all around the world, is a mixture of black and white, immigrant and indigenous. We are all here for one thing and that is to absolutely change this world. 

A combination of Covid, the pandemic of poverty and the pandemic of racism are really a catalyst moment for the movement. I’ve not seen this in the years that I’ve been organising and now we have a real chance to change something.

But the first thing we have to do is stick together and not let anybody steal our grassroots movement because there will be plenty of ambitious politicians or NGO’s who will want to seize this moment for their agenda, but their agenda is not our agenda, our agenda is to change the world, our agenda is to invest in caring and not killing. We can do that by taking back: the military budget, the police budget, the budgets that put us down and slaughter us and jail us and incriminate us. We can take those budgets back into our own hands.

This is a moment where we come together because we are catching the same fire and we have to put it out together!”

UNNAMED, WITH A SIGN THAT READS, “I’M TIRED OF BEING PERCEIVED AS AGGRESSIVE”:
BLM London Protests

“It’s important to be here. I think everybody should be here just so everyone can get equality.

I think as a black man, I’m tired of seeing people of my colour being killed.

Today, seeing this many people around us of all colours of all races coming together for one love one peace – we all bleed the same blood at the end of the day. That’s why I’m here today. 

The sign I made is, ‘I’m tired of being perceived as aggressive’, a lot of the time young black people, especially young black men, are perceived as being aggressive all the time.

People are walking down the street, crossing the road when they see me – just because of my skin colour. I’m sick and tired of it. I want change.

I don’t want to be perceived as someone who is bad. I’m not, I’m a good guy”.

UNNAMED, PROTESTING FOR CHANGE JUST OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT SQUARE:
BLM London Protests

“We are out here to fight the injustice in the justice system all across the board for black people. 

We’ve had enough now it has been going on for far too long. 

People have been ignoring it for far too long. This George Floyd thing has just made it apparent now. It’s in your face, it can’t be denied – we have to do something about it now!

What we need to do is get organised, get someone speaking for the people and take it to the people that can actually make real change. Because right now it is just people in the street.”

NATHAN AND RANNI, SPEAKING UP AGAINST THE SYSTEM IN PLACE:
BLM London Protests

“(Nathan) We are here to support everything that is going on. This type of thing has been going on for years. This is ridiculous now.

It’s not just the fact that this man was killed, it’s the fact that so many more instances of what’s happened have been ignored.

People stand up and they just get put back down. This is what happens when people turn a blind eye and brush it under the rug. This is what happens! People protest and stand up together – that is what matters.

(Ranni) People say that the system is broken, but the system isn’t broken, the system was created against us in the first place.

It needs to be completely reformed so that everyone has equal opportunity because at the moment we don’t have that. We get stood on, we literally get stood on and it needs to change. 

(N) The UK and the US were built on systematic racism. It goes all the way back to slavery. People say the system is broken but it has never changed. That is what we need, massive change. 

People start to get scared because of protests like this and things might get violent but this is what happens when you turn a blind eye to everything that goes on.

(R) This is the safest I’ve ever felt in London. I don’t get why our skin colour is threatening. 

(N) This is the safest I’ve ever felt outside my own house, subconsciously the black community is seen as a threat and I don’t understand why. We’re not threatening people. It’s a ridiculous thing and I’m just hoping there is going to be so much change from this.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Links below for ways you can help:

https://linktr.ee/sophieella

CNJ: Death a massive wake-up call

Camden New Journal Letters

Coverage of Mr Cardoso and other deaths in police custody, and CNJ’s marks of respect for anti-racist protest is appreciated.  (Mother of student who died in custody: ‘Black men are dying for no reason’)

Harrowing images of George Floyd’s torture and death by police kneeling on his neck have been a wake-up call, igniting a global movement.

Protests across the US have spread to Europe, Haiti and Latin America, Africa, Australia, and further. In the Middle East, protests against Israeli police killing a young autistic Palestinian man, involved demonstrators carrying photos of Iyad Hallaq and George Floyd, with the words #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter, and repeated here in London. 

All over the US, thousands of American law enforcement officials have trained in Israel with Israeli police and military, even including the knee-to-throat restaint practiced against Palestinian people.

The UK government is being called out – from its role in slavery, complicity with Israel and the US, and selling riot shields, tear gas and rubber bullets to US police forces. Minneapolis plans to disband the current police force for a transformative system. Calls to defund and de-militarise US police are now widespread.

Racism and police violence are part of the pandemic in the UK, too. As well as 1,741 deaths in police custody, at least 500 people of colour, police also turn up with social workers to take children from their mothers. Many are children of colour, their lives ruined from being snatched from the one who cares for and protects them. Our immune systems are under constant attack by this violence, plus bad housing that no one should live in, low wages, the hostile environment, and other daily racism.  It’s no mystery why BAME people, often key workers, are four times more likely to die of Covid.  

Women and men in our network feel compelled, despite the lock down, to join local protests – crowds of mostly young, multi-racial groups. White people have come to support people of colour but also bring their own grievances.  All of us are angry and determined after years of austerity, with authorities careless of our lives, and more worried about the stock market than the human cost.  It seems all of us are expendable to this government, young and elderly, especially if we are people of colour.

Mothers and other carers are on the front line of this crisis doing unrecognised, unwaged work of coping with discrimination, defending families and friends, and resisting every institutional violence. Women of Colour, immigrant women and Irish women do much of this justice work.

CNJ has covered Calvin Bungisa’s tragic death, and family members being harassed and treated as suspects by police instead of a grieving family. Dexter Bristol, a local Windrush citizen, collapsed and died after immigration officials hounded him for months.  Sarah Reed, a vulnerable young mother, died in suspicious circumstance in Holloway Prison, not long after a police officer attacked her, dragging by her hair, then restraining her by her neck, as she cried out that she couldn’t breathe.  In court he was found to have lied about her physically attacking him. We remember police violence at Orgreave, and Hillsborough, too.

Police are paid to maintain the status quo, crush protest, and crack down on people of colour and anyone who gets out of our boxes.  But a re-energised movement aims for those at the bottom to eliminate the bottom, so all of us move up together.

Sara Callaway

Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike 

25 Wolsey Mews NW5 2DX

Selma James & Women of Colour GWS sign letter: We stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he always stood with us

Organisations and individuals including Kehinde AndrewsHanif KureishiAhdaf SoueifGillian SlovoRobert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour

December 10, 2019 · 8 min read

We stand with Jeremy Corbyn

As BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) representatives, organisations, anti-racist activists and individuals involved in local, national, and international campaigns, we urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for the Labour Party on 12 December, to elect Jeremy Corbyn, a long-standing friend and supporter of the anti-racist causes we campaign for.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party has transformed politics in the UK, bringing hope to millions from our communities, who had previously been ignored, silenced, and oppressed by over nine years of Conservative and Liberal Democrat governments. Labour’s membership has soared since 2015, with a significant influx of BAME and migrant members. Our communities joined Labour because of Jeremy’s positions and exemplary record, over many decades, of standing beside us in our struggles against injustice and structural racism, at home and abroad. In the 2017 General Election, we turned out in record numbers to vote for Corbyn’s inclusive Labour party.

No other British politician in recent memory has been so dedicated to working with us in our communities, in order to overturn racism and achieve justice for those of us facing oppression and injustices. Jeremy’s first speech as Labour leader in 2015 was to a  “refugees welcome” rally, reflecting his longstanding commitment to achieve basic rights for migrants. Since becoming an MP in 1983, he has personally intervened on countless occasions to prevent deportations. In 2012 and 2014, Jeremy was one of only six MPs (alongside shadow cabinet members John McDonnell and Diane Abbott) that voted against the racist ‘Hostile Environment’ legislation that created the Windrush scandal, and has hurt hundreds of thousands of people in our communities.

Jeremy’s position on migrant justice is based on a true internationalism with a commitment to anti-racist and anti-colonial principles. In 1984, he was arrested protesting outside the embassy of Apartheid South Africa. In 1998, the Chilean former dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London only after Corbyn supported a 25 year campaign against his fascist regime. In 2001, he publicly opposed the NATO invasion of Afghanistan. In 2003, he spoke at the demonstration against the illegal British and American invasion of Iraq. He has always stood in solidarity with the Tamils of Sri Lanka, calling for accountability and ending the arms trade. He has spoken out against the oppression of persecuted peoples across the world, including Palestinians and Kurds in the Middle East, as well as communities in Mexico, Haiti, West Papua – often when no one else would.

Jeremy Corbyn was a key organiser in the Haringey Labour anti-racist group in the 1970s which later became the Anti-Nazi League. In 1977, he organised with the Indian Workers’ Association to turn back a violent National Front demonstration in Wood Green, North London. In 1992, Jeremy attended the inquest into the death of Leon Patterson, a young black man who died in police custody. In these ways and many more, he continues to keep police brutality against communities of colour on the political agenda, constantly tabling questions on police violence, including on Mark Duggan’s fatal shooting in 2011.

 

These are some of the reasons we know that Jeremy Corbyn is no ordinary politician. Each one of us, as individuals and organisations, have memories of Jeremy attending our events and demonstrations, large and small, championing our causes, and being our voice in Parliament – standing with us when we were dismissed and ignored.

In government he pledges to close detention centres, oppose imperial wars that have killed millions, and dismantle the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment policies, which criminalise our communities, and have led to the deaths of so many.

The Conservative government’s negligence allowed our brothers and sisters to die in the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower and has deported British citizens for the crime of being black during the Windrush scandal. We cannot continue like this: we must have a Labour victory in the upcoming election. We urgently need it.

Jeremy Corbyn will be the United Kingdom’s first anti-racist Prime Minister. We call on all of you, BAME and migrant communities to mobilise everyone you know, and ensure we get Labour elected on December 12. At this critical moment of possibility, and the chance for change, we stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he has always stood with us.

Signed,

Initiating and supporting groups:

Arab Labour Group

Black Labour Movement

Labour Against Racism and Fascism (LARAF)

Labour Friends of Kashmir

Lantinx for Corbyn

Kurds for Labour

Indians for Labour

Labour Friends of Yemen

Jewish Socialists’ Group

Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

London Young Labour BAME Network

South Asia Solidarity Group

Individual Signatories:

Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper – King’s College London

Ahdaf Soueif – Novelist

Dr Ala’a Al Shehabi – University College London

Professor Amia Srinivasan – University of Oxford

Sir Anish Kapoor C.B.E.

Anjum Mouj – Trainer and consultant

Asad Rehman

Ash Sarkar – Novara Media

Ashok Kumar – Lecturer of Political Economy

Asmahan Nouman – Chair of Network of Eritrean Women UK

Atallah Said O.B.E. – Founder of Arab Labour

Bill MacKeith – Campaign to Close Campsfield

Bobby Chan – Veteran Chinese human rights activist

Crissie Richter – Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

Dalia Gebrial – Novara Media

Professor David Graeber – London School of Economics

David Rosenberg – Convenor of Cable Street 80 commemoration

Don Flynn – Migrants rights campaigner

Elif Sarican – Kurdish Women’s Movement

Estella Schmid – Peace in Kurdistan

Farhana Yamin – Associate Fellow, Chatham House

Farzana Khan – Healing Justice London

Professor Felix Padel –  Associate of University of Oxford

Firoze Manji – Publisher and academic

Gillian Slovo – Novelist, playwright and memoirist

Grant Marshall – Massive Attack

Professor Gautam Appa – London School of Economics

Professor Gurminder Bhambra – University of Sussex

Professor Gus John

Amrit Wilson – South Asia Solidarity Group

Nisha Kapoor – University of Warwick

Richard Rieser – World of Inclusion

Zrinka Bralo – Migrants rights campaigner

Hanif Kureishi C.B.E

Harsev Bains – Indian Workers Association (GB)

Dr John Narayan – King’s College London

Dr Kalpana Wilson – Birkbeck University

Katrina Ffrench – Human Rights Advocate

Professor Karma Nabulsi – University of Oxford

Professor Kehinde Andrews – Birmingham City University

Khadija Mohammad-Nur – Co-founder of Network of Eritrean Women

Professor Laleh Khalili – School of Oriental and Afican Studies

Leena Dhingra – Actress

Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins – University of Warwick

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Poet and musician

Dr Mezna Qato – University of Cambridge

Mirza Saaib Beg – Lawyer, Kashmir Reading Room

Mukhtar Dar – Founding member of South Asian Alliance (Birmingham)

Dr Musab Younis – Queen Mary University

Dr Nivi Manchanda – Queen Mary University

Noorafshan Mirza – Independent Cultural Worker

Peter Herbert O.B.E – Society of Black Lawyers

Preethi Manuel

Rahila Gupta – Southall Black Sisters

Dr Rahul Rao – Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS

Remi Joseph-Salisbury – Racial Justice Network

Robert Del Naja – Massive Attack

Rossanna Leal – Organiser and migrant rights campaigner

Sara Callway – Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

Sarli Nana – Migrant justice and anti-racist campaigner

Selma James – Global Women’s Strike

Shakila Taranum Maan – Artist and filmmaker

Dr Sita Balani – King’s College London

Dr Sivamohan Valluvan – University of Warwick

Professor Sundari Anitha – University of Lincoln

Suresh Grover – Anti-racist activist, Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

Dr  Tanzil Chowdhury – Queen Mary University

Professor Virinder Kalra – University of Warwick

Yemsrach Hailemariam – Free Andy Tsege Campaign

Zita Holbourne – National Chair BARAC UK

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New Zealand: Women of Colour condemn Mosque Shootings

 

Dear friends,

We have updated our statement (sent 16 March).

Great if you can send it round your networks with Facebook event for the Vigil tonight, which we have been invited to co-host and speak at.  We will be meeting 5.30pm onwards outside News Corp, 1 London Bridge St, London. See map

Hope to see you there,

Women of Colour/Global Women Strike

 

 

                               Vigil@ Walthamstow Central

 

“As our prayers go out to the Muslim community in New Zealand we must also recognise and tackle the relentless Islamophobia perpetrated, with impunity, by media and politicians that has fuelled the rise of violent white supremacy.”  Irfan Akhtar, Media Spokesman for Waltham Forest Council Of Mosques, 15/03/19.

There has been a worldwide outpouring of compassion for Muslim people gunned down in two mosques in Christchurch, and outrage at the cold blooded pre-planned murders of 50 people at prayers and the wounding of many others, some fighting for life.

Support is heartening and now is the time to strengthen our movements against the demonization of Muslim people by successive UK, US, Hungarian, Indian, Israeli and other governments.

We can’t forget Trump’s ban to prevent Muslims entering the US – upheld by the Supreme Court despite many strong challenges. Neither will we forget that the Tory government ran the most racist campaign against the Muslim Mayor of London, named an ‘enemy’ by the New Zealand killer. Western governments have waged successive wars (reminiscent of the Crusades), terrorising populations and devastating whole countries, while branding those of us who are Muslim as ‘terrorists’. In the UK ‘Prevent’ measures target children and fuel Islamophobia by labelling kids as young as five as ‘radicalised and dangerous’.

The corporate media and the BBC amplify every form Islamophobia by governments and the extreme right.

A record number of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse were reported in 2017, with women disproportionate targeted. Attacks rose by 26% — most occurring face-to-face (not on social media). At street level 57.5% of the victims were women.

From physical attacks on Mosques, to the outrageous revoking of Shamia Begum’s citizenship and the death of her baby which followed, politicians have fed racist and right-wing extremists, and fundamentalist leaders around the world.

Institutionalised Islamophobia is rampant and one of the most wide-spread forms of racism. It is fed by Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians who are overwhelmingly Muslim, yet this is often denied and hidden by cries of antisemitism.

It is urgent to act together to defeat racism and the extreme right. If we don’t — they will come for all antiracists, beginning with people of colour and immigrants but not ending there.

Friday 15 March 2019.
Revised 18 March 2019