Black Lives Matter Statement
Mandu Reid, Leader of the Women's Equality Party.
The Women’s Equality Party condemns racism in all its forms. We stand with the individuals and organisations fighting racism now and always. The murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, and subsequent efforts to deny justice and violently suppress the collective actions and expressions of pain by black and brown people, are part of the same centuries-old racist oppression.
George Floyd was a father of two, a brother and a friend. He was murdered on camera while other police officers stood by and watched. This inhumanity is the consequence of white supremacy and is far from limited to the United States. We are reminded of Sean Rigg who died in police custody in Brixton after a police officer leant on his back for eight minutes while he was held in the prone position. We are reminded of Joy Gardner, who died from a cardiac arrest after police bound and gagged her in her home. We are reminded too of the police brutality that resulted in Mark Duggan and Cynthia Jarrett losing their lives, and the systemic failures that led to the deaths of Sarah Reed, Christopher Alder, Leon Patterson, Sheku Bayoh, Belly Mujinga and countless others. And we are reminded of the higher arrest rates and fines for ‘breaking’ lock down while government advisors and ministers are free to flout the rules as they like.
The higher death rate of BAME people from Covid-19 has been public knowledge since April, with report after report confirming the numbers. Meanwhile, the government commissioned more research, made no attempt to act and failed to take any responsibility for the impact of its own policies, which put BAME communities in positions of greater risk; the hostile environment, austerity measures, stamping ‘no recourse to public funds’ on passports. It is not enough to wait for the results of yet another inquiry, the government must take action now to stop the avoidable loss of yet more Black and Asian lives - we join calls for an immediate COVID-19 Race Equality Strategy.
Structural racism is local and global, it penetrates every institution and every so-called independent investigation into these deaths. It frustrates every effort towards justice and undermines progress for us all. It is not enough to just stand in solidarity. We will continue to play our part fighting for and building a world free from state violence and oppression and free from the pervasive consequences of everyday prejudice and discrimination - because racial, economic and gender justice are inextricably linked and it is a collective endeavour to change the world.