Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact me about the ongoing protests in the United States and around the world in response to the murder of George Floyd. I have had over 1000 emails from the Lewisham Deptford community.
George Floyd must not become just another name associated with police brutality. His shocking death has shone a light on the racism experienced by too many black people in the US and beyond and should be a catalyst for much-needed change.
You are rightly calling for the basic human rights of black people to be respected, for them to be able go about their daily lives without the threat of police violence, and for all of us to take action to dismantle the structural and institutional practices that permit and entrench racism in our communities. However, in cities across the US, we have seen law enforcement authorities using excessive force in response to these protests, including against children and members of the media. President Trump has also threatened the deployment of the military to escalate this response while peaceful protesters were tear-gassed and beaten nearby. This response is despicable.
I remain concerned British-sold equipment may have been used in these incidents. I have joined my colleagues in writing to Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary calling for the immediate suspension of any exports of riot control equipment to the US, pending a review of whether they are being used in response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. I also believe the next time the Prime Minister speaks to President Trump he must convey to him our abhorrence at his response to these events.
Here in Lewisham we have a proud history of fighting racism and injustice; we must all stand together to build a better society. I am proud to have joined my fellow Lewisham MPs, the Mayor of Lewisham and our London Assembly Member challenging recent police activity in the area, something that we will continue to monitor closely. We must also all redouble our efforts to ensure justice for Belly Mujinga and ensure the Public Health England report into BAME Covid-19 deaths are properly investigated, something I will continue to push for. I have been a long advocate of overhauling the national curriculum so it includes black history throughout, we must ensure young people are able to see the vast contribution of black Britons.
I stand shoulder to shoulder with black communities in the US, the UK and across the world in the fight against racism. I will continue to follow this issue closely and hold the Government to account on its response.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important matter.