No one who saw the video from Minnesota of police kneeling on the neck of George Floyd as he tells officers he cant breathe can fail to be horrified by those scenes. The anger and hurt in communities across America and around the world is real and people are right to demand answers and action – with demonstrations taking place across the world and locally in Windrush Square and Brockwell Park. Black Lives Matter.
Lambeth Council joined others in lighting the Town Hall in purple to commemorate the death of George Floyd – but acts of solidarity alone are not enough. At our June Council meeting, Councillors agreed a motion which committed the Council to taking action. We will be pushing the Government to take immediate action to address the conclusions of the now released report into the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic people, we have called for an immediate suspension of the sale of arms to the United States and an investigation into how British produce arms are being used to violate civil rights there. We will also work with the community and the police to ensure that policing in the Borough is proportionate and fair to all residents.
Lambeth Council has also launched an audit of landmarks, statues and works of art in public spaces in the Borough for their links to slavery, colonialism and the oppression of black and minority ethnic communities. Like the move to rename Windrush Square to commemorate the contribution of the Windrush generation to the Borough, there will be extensive consultation with the community on how the appropriateness of our shared public spaces and what we commemorate.