The killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police has sent shock waves around the world. His death highlighted, again, the extent of police brutality against the black community in the USA. The global response to this terrible act has also forced us all to confront racist structures that exist within our own countries. In the UK, these include the disproportionate stop and searches of black people, prejudicial assumptions that infiltrate the public and private sphere, the Government’s deliberate creation of a Hostile Environment, the Windrush scandal. Unfortunately, the list is long.
This is not the first time that we have seen such an outpouring of grief and understandable anger. People are tired of discrimination, tired of police brutality, tired of the injustices, tired of fear, tired of structural inequalities that continue to exist within businesses, faith communities, educational and public institutions and that also exist within our government.
“It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it [racism]out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets” – Michelle Obama
There are no quick fixes for racism so ingrained in our communities in Britain. However, by continuing to work together locally we can make Bristol a real City of Sanctuary which provides welcome, safety and hope for all. There is so much work to be done but there is also a tangible feeling of hope that things can change for the better.
Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with this movement, and all those who stand for justice and peace in our city, nationally and around the world. We must listen to the voices that speak their pain and then act decisively on what we hear. Our humanity must speak truth to power until every person is valued equally.
Caroline Beatty – Co-chair, Bristol City of Sanctuary
Reverend Richard McKay – Co-Chair, Bristol City of Sanctuary
Forward Maisokwadzo – Manager, Bristol City of Sanctuary