All of us at The Black Antelope Group are outraged by the recent murder of yet another Black person at the hands of the police. The inhumane and brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 is yet another sickening example of the systemic racism that Black people continue to battle against in societies around the world, including our own here in the UK.
As an organisation founded on the values of equality, respect, and inclusion, we feel compelled to speak out. We as individuals and organisations have to stand and fight together with the victims of murder, oppression, and abuse of power because of their skin colour, as well as with those who seek justice and change through peaceful protests across the world.
What happened to George Floyd was not the result of one bad apple; it was possible because of other police officers, who stood by for 8 minutes and 46 seconds whilst a fellow police officer put his knee on the neck of George Floyd. The other police officers did not intervene when George Floyd could be heard saying he couldn’t breathe, they also did not intervene when George Floyd lost consciousness. They failed to speak out. They remained silent.
We have been moved by the people of every race and ethnicity who have come together across the world and in the UK to express their intolerance of institutionalised racism through peaceful demonstrations and to call for immediate justice and change because black lives matter and silence is not an option.
It is not just in policing that change needs to be effected here in the UK, it is also in the way that the state deals or fails to deal with the inequalities experienced by the BAME community. The recent Public Health England report “Disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19” highlights the fact at para 4.1 that:
“Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when
compared to White ethnic groups. This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years,
when the all cause mortality rates were lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups.
Therefore, the inequality in COVID-19 mortality between ethnic groups is the opposite of
that seen for all causes of death in previous years”
BAME people make up 14% of the total UK population, but yet they represent 40% of the NHS, the same frontline heroes for which we all as a nation are thankful for saving our lives and those of our loved ones. The report highlights that BAME people are also over-represented in many of the frontline services and occupations that we have to thank for keeping our country running during this difficult period. We call on the UK government to do justice to these heroes by ensuring that they take every single possible action to address this inequality and that it is made a priority before profit to show that #blacklivesmatter and #BAMElivesmatter and that we do justice to all those who have already lost their lives selflessly and cared for our sick without discrimination.