More than 200, mostly black, people came to hear US civil rights activist Al Sharpton address Operation Black Vote’s general election campaign launch meeting last Saturday.
Operation Black Vote’s aim is to get ethnic minorities to vote. Sharpton has been centrally involved in justice campaigns after US cops killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner last year.
He told the meeting, “The battles we are fighting in the US are the same battles you are fighting here.”
Sharpton explained that it’s vital to organise people’s anger so that protests achieve something.
“Otherwise people will end up in more despair than when they woke up,” he said.
Labour MP Diane Abbott also talked about the importance of forcing through change in the capital. She said, “It’s a city with record numbers of millionaires, but one in four children lives in poverty.”
Muhammad Bari from the Muslim Council of Britain said, “Vote. But vote for the right candidates, who support the fight for social justice.”
Other speakers included Operation Black Vote head Simon Woolley, Lee Jasper of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts and justice campaigner Marcia Rigg.
Operation Black Vote had invited Tory and Lib Dem speakers, but neither of them showed up.
Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism also reminded people about the 21 March demonstrations.