We, Black Cultural Archives, are deeply saddened and enraged by the death of Belly Mujinga after being spat on at work in London, the murder of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis, USA, and the deaths and mistreatment of many more Black people at the hands of racists.
We stand in solidarity and sympathy with our brothers and sisters across the world who have lost their lives to police brutality and systemic racism. We also want to take this moment to remember those who we have lost here in the UK.
Since 1990, BAME people die disproportionately as a result of use of force or restraint by the police, raising serious questions of institutional racism as a contributory fact. They too have names and include:
We name only a few.
Their deaths are unacceptable.
Black Cultural Archives has its roots in the rejection of injustices against Black people in the UK. We exist to use our histories, our stories of courage and resistance, to give strength and inspiration to our people and to make a better future society.
For almost forty years, we have been committed to our educational mission. The narrative of Black people experiencing injustice and abuse is far too common.
We demand change because Black Lives Matter.
We demand the right to more than just living and breathing. We demand that Black lives thrive and flourish. Black people have the right to be heard – whether they are protesting in our streets or sitting directly across the table from policymakers.
We want our government, policymakers, the justice system, and individuals across the nation to take action to end systemic racism for all areas of society. We call on the British government to make a stand for equality. We call for the British people to stand in solidarity.
We want to remind our community and the wider world that Black people have also been a part of a change for the better. We’ve been part of this country’s greatest moments. We have resisted, reinvented, and innovated not only within our culture but to the benefit of those we live and work with regardless of their background.
We can vouch for this because our collections hold the evidence of Black excellence alongside stories of our struggle. Today, we have an opportunity to be a force of change once more.
We can do so whilst holding onto the memory of heroes like Olive Morris and Amy Ashwood Garvey who fought for change. We remember Olaudah Equiano, the British Black Panthers, the Mangrove Nine, Darcus Howe and Len Garrison.
The list of names of Black people who have stood up to fight inequality and racism is immense, and it keeps growing. The movement is ongoing. It is time for the rest of society to mobilize in support.
As an organization, we take pride in actively holding space for the Black community and preserving our story with the aim to be that foundation that future movements are built on.
As we move towards the future, we demand
No more systemic or institutional racism.
No more murders.
No more injustice.