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Black History Month

I would like to introduce Black History month by focusing on an issue that has peaked periodically in the media. The # Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist movement originated in the African American Community and campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.

BLM regularly organises protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers. It also include issues of racial profiling, police brutality and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. Whilst the BLM has its roots based in legal matters they have also included other aspects which concentrate on world- wide environmental, economic and political arenas.

Its membership is open to people from all ethnic backgrounds. However, its underlying principle is that everyone understands that #Black Lives Matter. In terms of recognising that black people are more likely to be harshly judged, if they are fortunate, or more likely to be killed for minor offences. It has been argued by opposing groups that ALL Lives Matter and whilst this is a fact we cannot minimise the struggle that people of African descent have experienced for centuries. Black people have been systematically murdered, and it is still continuing to this present day. Police officers have wrongly evaluated the situation or harboured a racist attitude to the extent that it costs the life of that individual.

The movement has also moved across to the UK and activist in support of BLM blocked the M4 near Heathrow. This resulted in 19 people being arrested. Link to article

The following article written by Laura Barker in the Guardian highlights that in the UK people from black or minority ethnic communities are more likely to end up dead after being in police custody, following the use of force. It also highlight that the system keeps getting tweaked but this is not the answer and perhaps we are not asking the right questions Link to article in the Guardian

It is clear the BLM movement will continue to conduct rallies and protest to the government that the attempts at making adjustments to an already faulty system does not go far enough to reinforce the fact that all black lives matter.

Service users and employees of Community Links are celebrating Black History Month at Community Links  on Tuesday 18th October from 12.30-3pm at the West Indian Centre in Leeds. At the event there will be various displays and articles featuring South African historical events.

Joan Higgins, Case Coordinator, aspire