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Letters—We have to say her name as well—it was Breonna Taylor 

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Issue 2708
Remember Breonna Taylor
Remember Breonna Taylor (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken the US and large parts of the world to its core.

The world had finally been forced to address the reality of corruption and racism that is intrinsically connected to the institution of policing.

It shouldn’t have to take that rare occurrence of such a lengthy and clear recorded footage to be the catalyst of an uprising. 

But for many, this is the first time they have been able to see the brutality of police tactics in a way that is uncomfortable and confronting. 

So when we find ourselves in times likes these, on the cusp of what could be real radical change, it is important that we stress to new masses that this is not an isolated incident. 

Often we are able to ignore the large number of deaths, in particular against black women, that take place in police custody or during arrest because they aren’t captured on film and posted on social media. 

Just a few days before the death of Floyd a black woman, Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was shot eight times when the police raided her apartments in search of her boyfriend and narcotics.

They did not find narcotics. 

Such deaths of black women don’t often spark uprisings. 

Malcolm X once said, “The most unprotected person in America is the black women.” And as a black woman myself, it sometimes feels like when we are not being silenced at the hand of our oppressors, our voices are drowned out in the midst of sound within our own movements. 

Black Lives Matter was originally created by three women of colour. 

Often we are the only ones bringing attention to the struggle.

Let us not continue to make this mistake. 

Black voices matter and it’s time to give us the platforms we deserve. 

Justice for all. #sayhername.

Elizabeth Adofo

South London

Crimes of Britain

The British state has always failed black people. 

The narrative that Britain is “one of the least racist nations in the world” is just not true.

The recent Black Lives Matter protests are a collective outcry for justice. 

Racism is at the very heart of the state.

Britain owes its rapid development partly to its colonising of black and brown nations. 

It has memorialised and glorified its imperialism with museums and statues that are dedicated to war criminals.

Through austerity, the state has continued to destroy communities during this Corona crisis. 

That makes it complicit in the overwhelming BAME deaths. It has blood on its hands.

My faith is now placed in the compassion, empathy and solidarity I’ve experienced in my community. I believe in the people, in the masses, not in the establishment.

For decades black people were silenced. 

Families mourn for Belly Mujinga, Stephen Lawrence, George Floyd and all the black people who have died in police custody.

Our solidarity is international. We mourn with them. We cry with them. And we fight with them.

We’ve never forgotten Grenfell. We’ve never forgotten the Windrush generation. We’ve never forgotten the Lewisham riots. 

There is no going back. Let this moment radicalise you.

Olaitan Odubiyi

south east London 

Labour MPs care about themselves, not kids

The NEU union and school workers are fighting to keep schools shut. Meanwhile Labour Party leader Keir Starmer called for the government, unions and parents to work together to open schools before it’s safe.

Some Labour MPs have been expressing outrage about how they have to go back into parliament to vote. 

It seems they’re angrier about going to parliament than about children and workers being put at risk. One Labour MP called the opening of parliament “a very high risk strategy”. 

Personally I think four and five year olds being together at school is a high risk strategy. Children that young can’t be expected to socially distance.

Labour MPs can’t complain about the risks to themselves if they won’t oppose the risks to the rest of us.

Isabel Ringrose


Too many die saying ‘I can’t breathe’

Medical examiners hired by George Floyd’s family have found that he died of asphyxiation and compression on his neck.

Cases of black deaths in police custody happen disproportionately to African Americans. Similar incidents have occurred in Britain.

An innocent, unarmed black man, Sheku Bayoh, was falsely accused by a member of the public of wielding a knife or machete in the town of Kirkcaldy, Scotland in 2015. Several police officers knelt on his back. 

Police used CS spray, batons, leg and ankle restraints and handcuffs. 

A post-mortem revealed that he had facial injuries, bruises to his body and a fracture to his rib. 

Officers tried to say that he was a potential “terrorist” and was “resisting arrest”. 

The US police accused George Floyd of the same. 

We must support the Black Lives Matter movement—as both men tried to say, “I can’t breathe.”

Rabia Saleem


Young people lead the way

As the Covid-19 lockdown drags on it’s brilliant to see young people becoming more radicalised than ever around the anti-racist protests across the world.

Social media is full of ways to get involved, from socially-distanced protests to innovative forms of online resistance and support

In Britain young people are sick of hearing from a government that fails to protect lives over profits, especially in the BAME community. 

And the racist police protects it. 

These young people are calling for radical system change now.

Ruby James 

Central London

Symptom of a sick system

The neoliberal capitalists in power have been destroying our communities for decades now. 

Riots are a symptom, not the problem. 

Janet Ayers 

On Facebook

We say Black Lives Matter

The phrase “all lives matter” is being thrown about a lot by reactionaries to make the movement sound less inclusive.

We are saying “black lives matter” right now because black lives are undervalued due to this racist system. 

We fight for all but right now black lives are the ones that are under attack.

Natasha Waring 


We can win over schools

Great to see that analysis by the NEU union showed that around 44 percent of schools that should have opened to more children on 1 June did not.

Resistance can work.

Amy Johnson 


We’re not out of the first wave of infections yet. But profit-hungry bosses and Tories are pushing us all ba ck into work and to school. 

Jon Long

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