York Labour Women’s Forum held a silent protest yesterday, June 13, to show solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the protest was held online using video sharing. Following an introduction by York Labour’s Women’s Officer, Alison Hume, the participants held their silence for eight minutes and forty six seconds, the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck, resulting in his death. “It’s something anyone who watched the footage will never forget,” she said.
“And we must not forget,” she continued. “Because change is coming. Our country is on the brink of recession and huge unemployment. We have a government who even in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic seek to play the race card to deflect from their own criminal mismanagement. And in our own Party we face the verdict on anti-semitism within our membership and an enquiry into how BAME activists and senior Black MPs have been treated.
“There will be many calls on our time and energies. Even when our time is pressed by other important matters we must not forget Breonna Taylor, the 26 year old American woman shot by police by accident. Another accident, one of thousands.
“Her death reminded me of Cherry Groce, a mother of 6 young children, accidentally shot and paralysed by a Metropolitan police officer when they raided her house thinking it was a squat. That was 1985. I was a young university student then, living down the road from her Brixton home. 35 years later -what has changed?
“It’s not just police violence. The racial inequalities of the coronavirus are clear, as it disproportionately affects minority communities in many ways. We don’t listen to these communities. Look at Grenfell. Three years and the survivors are still waiting for answers.
“We must not forget but we also have to remember. Remember to ask ourselves what more we can do, for many of us, as white women, not just to stand up to racism, but to stand alongside our BAME sisters and to amplify their voices.
“Because Black Lives Matter.”