Across the globe over the past few months, many of us have joined together to fight against racism and bring attention to the many inequalities faced by marginalised and underrepresented communities. However, as we move into a new news cycle, we must not let this momentum burn out! Tara Pilkington reports.
When the Black Lives Matter movement rallied against the unjust killing of George Floyd, enormous mobilisations of solidarity were seen not just in the US, but in London, Paris, Berlin and other major cities across the globe.
Not only have demonstrators demanded change in America, but in their home towns too, with a particular focus on how the justice system is often rigged against people of colour, and in particular Black people.
Although the Black Lives Matter demonstrations may not be front page news anymore, last week saw two big protests; one in Athens and one in the Neukolln borough of Berlin.
At the demonstration in Athens, immigrant, refugee and migrant communities came together with forces of the organised working-class movement and left. Mant slogans read: “Black Lives Matter,” “Refugee Lives Matter,” “Immigrant Lives Matter.” Health workers also joined the demonstration.
The range of slogans visible at the demonstration came from the drawing together of various communities, and in turn bringing forward the divisive discussion of what do we mean by black? And is BAME a good or bad acronym? These both highlight a general opposition to racism and the precise political effect that this has on communities.
The Neukolln protests were in response to a far-right attack on a Syrian bakery, the seventh since it was opened in 2015. Neonazi SS runes were daubed on the “Damascus” shop front and a delivery vehicle torched. The local branch of Die Linke have claimed that the police know who the perpetrators are, but have failed to take action for years.
Both of these demonstrations, although under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter, highlight how beneath each peak of any movement lies myriad smaller actions. And these movements are what push us forwards.
The People’s Policy Project in the US has found: “There are large class disparities in police killings…Likewise, there are large racial disparities in police killings … Whites in the poorest areas have a police killing rate of 7.9 per million, compared to 2 per million for whites in the least-poor areas. Blacks in the poorest areas have a police killing rate of 12.3 per million, compared to 6.7 per million for blacks in the least-poor areas.”