Faith in Black Lives Matter was a conference run by the Faith Network for Manchester that took place via Zoom in November. Here are links to some of the topics it looked at. Thought-provoking, honest and robust content (let the listener understand), but shared in a context of humility and desire to learn and change.
One of the reactions to the mass-break-in to the Capitol Building in Washington last week has been to contrast the police response and numbers arrested or charged with the Black Lives Matter protests last June. The Black Lives Matter Global Network commented: "Make no mistake, if the protesters were Black, we would have been tear gassed, battered, and perhaps shot."
Former First Lady, Michele Obama released a statement pointing out the discrepancy between "these rioters and gang members ... led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days" and the summer's "overwhelmingly peaceful" Black Lives Matter protest movement which saw "peaceful protesters met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op". Read the full statement here.
As well as his own statement describing "a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation", former president predecessor Barack Obama has also Tweeted links to several articles further analysing the gulf in response between mostly white and mostly black protests. These are:
Two more reports have been added to the growing pile of research showing that minority ethnic communities have been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, this time revealing that little effort has been made to address the issue.
A joint report from IPPR and Runnymede trust states: "there has been little effort to stop Covid-19 hitting minority ethnic communities hardest as we enter the second wave". It estimates that over 2,500 deaths could have been avoided during the first wave in England and Wales if the black and Asian populations did not experience an extra risk of death from Covid-19 compared to the white population (after adjusting for differences in age and sex). Put differently, over 58,000 and 35,000 additional deaths from Covid-19 would have occurred if the white population had experienced the same risk of death from Covid-19 as the black and Asian and populations respectively. The inequalities are not explained by underlying diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes) or genetics (as there is no genetic basis for race or ethnicity). The report says: "this inequality is likely to be driven by structural and institutional racism that results in differences in social conditions (such as occupation and housing) and differential access to healthcare". Read more here.
The second report is a follow up by The Independent to the Government-commissioned review from Public Health England in June into inequalities in Covid deaths. It states that: "four months on, as the country heads towards another peak of cases, the government has been unable to provide The Independent with details of any action taken to address the issue". It quotes Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow equalities minister: “Ministers’ failure to prevent the disproportionate impact of Covid is negligent, discriminatory and unlawful.” Read more here.
The cartoon, from The Independent in June, sums it up well.
With the help of advisor and founding trustee, Dr Clifford Hill, MJR has written a response to the recent publication by the National Trust of a report showing connections between 93 of its historic places and colonialism and historic slavery.
The report is welcomed, particularly the statement: “We believe that only by honestly and openly acknowledging and sharing those stories can we do justice to the true complexity of past, present and future, and the sometimes uncomfortable role that Britain, and Britons, have played in global history since the 16th century or even earlier.”
The National Trust say that 29 of the properties now in their care have direct links with colonial slavery and the slave trade, and about one third of all their properties have some kind of connection to colonialism. The hope is expressed that the National Trust research will lead to the establishment of a positive programme of dealing with the vast number of buildings, statues and plaques that have links with British colonial history and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Read the full response here. Read the National Trust report here.
Enslaved is a six-episode docuseries that explores 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World by following the efforts of Diving with a Purpose, as they search for and locate six slave ships that went down with their human cargo. These modern day adventures serve as a springboard to tell the stories of the ideology, economics and politics of slavery, while also celebrating stories of resistance, the cultures left behind and the culture that we live in.
Co-presented by Samual L. Jackson and Afua Hirsch, Enslaved is showing in the US and Canada in September and on BBC2 in October.
An opinion article in today's Independent by Micha Frazer-Carroll, "Black lives still matter ... so let’s push for systemic change", notes the difference in coverage between the murder of George Floyd 3 months ago and the recent severe wounding of Jacob Blake by seven police bullets in his back. The former saw America’s biggest protests since the civil rights era which swept the country and went around the globe. A British black journalist who reports on race, Frazer-Carroll says it was "unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime." Coverage of the Blake shooting, however, has been "comparatively modest".
"Black lives still matter as much today as they did at the height of protests in June, but it feels as if public support has dampened since then." In the UK, though the police do not routinely carry guns, black people are still disproportionately exposed to premature death at the sands of the state. There is a parallel between Blake's paralysing and black student Julian Cole who was left brain-damaged when forcibly restrained by police in 2013 in Bedford. Black people are more than twice as likely to die in police custody than white.
Frazer-Carroll concludes: "I’m just as angry about state violence against black people as I was three months ago, when protests first swept the globe. I am just as angry as my mother was for her generation, and as her mother was for her own. Until we see systemic change, my anger won’t dissipate. Will yours?"
The third part of the Mosaic Justice Network 'Facing up to race' series will be on Sunday August 30, 7-8:15pm. 'Generating Justice' will be a conversation between 3 activists passionate for racial justice for young people and for bringing the next generation into leadership in shaping and building a future society of fairness and equality for all. Download a leaflet here.
Recordings of parts 1 and 2, Two Pandemics and Church Complicity, are now available to watch and listen.
The first two parts of the Mosaic Justice Network 'Facing up to race' series took place in the last few days. Both featured excellent presentations and honest and deep discussion. Recordings are now available to watch and listen.here.
The Mosaic Justice Network in Manchester are holding a short series of conversations via Zoom called 'Facing up to race: contested identities and realities' on issues arising from the murder of George Floyd.
For more information and Zoom info go here or send an email. Zoom info is also on the leaflets.
The latest newsletter from Greater Manchester Poverty Action focuses on the recent Social Metrics Commission report which highlights the shocking extent to which certain parts of our community are at much greater risk of poverty. The report found that nearly half of BAME UK households live in poverty and many in deep poverty, and BAME families are between two to three times more likely to be experiencing persistent poverty. Coronavirus has exposed many existing inequalities, making talk of the virus being a great leveller, affecting rich and poor alike as nonsense. GMPA asked several leading figures from Greater Manchester's Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) to comment on the Social Metrics Commission figures and what they mean for the fight against poverty in light of the pandemic.
Read their comments in the newsletter here.
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