The one-year anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd will see anti-racists in Britain mobilise against institutional racism.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and the TUC union federation have organised a week of action from Saturday 22 May.
Activists plan #SayTheirName events in towns and cities across Britain on the day. They will read the names of black people who’ve disproportionally died coronavirus and in police custody.
In London, anti-racists will be gather in Parliament Square at 1pm. This will be followed by an online rally at 5pm, with speakers from Britain and the US discussing how to take the fight forward.
On Tuesday 25 May—a year to the day Floyd was murdered—SUTR and the TUC are calling on workers and activists to take the knee. This will take place in local areas, workplaces, colleges and schools as part of a push to take the fight against institutional racism into every workplace.
Weyman Bennett is co-convenor of SUTR. “The murder of George Floyd, when Derek Chauvin rested his knee on his neck for nine minutes 29 seconds, lighted a mass movement,” he told Socialist Worker. “It was bigger than the Civil Rights movement.
“What happened to George Floyd is happening in Britain—when black people are killed, there is no justice.”
Weyman highlighted how institutional racism meant that black and Asian people have died disproportionately from coronavirus. “SUTR is coming out to demand a public inquiry to expose the lie that there isn’t institutional racism,” he said.
On Monday 17 May, SUTR and the TUC are calling an online rally to mobilise for the week of action and discuss fighting anti-racism in the workplace. Speakers include union general secretaries and representatives from the NEU, PCS, Unison, Unite, GMB, TUC, RMT and FBU unions.
Weyman said, “At the heart of the fight against racism has always been the question of where people are divided—and where they’re brought together. That’s the workplace. They use racism to divide and rule and we have to be clear and say we oppose that.”
The action in Parliament Square is even more crucial given the Tories' protest-smashing police bill. "We are witnessing stealing of our rights we’ve had for hundreds of years,” Weyman explained.
“Without protest we wouldn’t have the right to vote or organise. People need to defend their rights to demonstrate.”
“We celebrate that people like Tommy Robinson and the British National Party have been smashed to pieces by movements,” Weyman said. “We need to use the same energy to double our efforts about fighting all forms of oppression.
“Solidarity is the energy of change and without it there can be no progress.”