The IAS stands in solidarity with the UK Black Lives Matter movement
The brutal and tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month has seen anti-racism campaigning pushed to the forefront of many people’s social and political agendas.
Discussions, social media campaigns, and protests have been sparked, with this weekend seeing tens of thousands take to the streets of their local towns and cities to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and demand an overhaul of the systematically racist structures that caused this – and similar – tragedies to happen.
The protests have shone a light on the presence of institutional racism in the UK’s laws and social structures, and many of those in the legal sector have been involved with campaigning to have these reassessed.
“The world has a window at this time to break down centuries of discrimination against black people that have been systematically enshrined and reinforced in the fabric of everyday society and we must seize it”, IAS’ Company Director, Ono Okeregha, said in response to the surge in campaigning.
“This is not just only about violence in all its forms but the treating of every human being irrespective of colour with equality and dignity. The great realisation for many people is the unconscious bias and prejudices that they hold and the greatest disservice anyone can do right now is to do nothing all! The least or silent racist is still racist! Enough is truly enough now!”
“…the greatest disservice anyone can do right now is to do nothing at all! The least or silent racist is still racist!”
Staff from our IAS offices around the country have been involved in different capacities with the UK BLM movement, whether that be attending peaceful protests, signing petitions, or donating to worthy causes.
To show our support for Black Lives Matter, we have spoken to some of these staff and compiled some pictures, videos, and statements.
“I truly hope that this moment is not fleeting.”
Uche Uwaezuoke, our London-based immigration lawyer and regional manager, described how she has experienced different forms of racism in the UK throughout her life, both “overt and covert”.
“I do not want to have to explain to my daughter about the ‘black tax’, about injustice and unfairness she may face just because of the colour of her skin,” Uche states.
“I truly hope that this moment is not fleeting. I hope that this Movement brings acknowledgement and understanding of what black and brown people go through. But more importantly, I hope this brings real change“
“A light is being shone on racism in the UK”
Andy Taiwo, the IAS’ SEO manager shared his thoughts on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement:
“Racism has evolved in a multitude of ways”, he says, “it is direct and hidden”. Andy talks about experiencing racism throughout his childhood and adult years and goes on to say that protesting right now is important because it shows that “a light is being shone on racism in the UK”.
Several members of our content and outreach team attended protests in Manchester city centre, including Holly Barrow, who comments:
“The protests in Manchester were both empowering and poignant, making clear just how many people are unwilling to turn a blind eye to systemic racism. The entire Black Lives Matter movement is provoking change across the globe, with Minneapolis city council now vowing to dismantle its police department. Only a few days ago, this would have been considered an impossibility. For this reason, I think it is more important than ever to get behind protesters and to participate where possible; in the words of Angela Davis ‘I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I’m changing the things I cannot accept’.”
LunaWilliams, another member of the team also attended the protest in Manchester.
“I attended because I wanted to stand up and show that I support the movement and the people who are affected by racism every day,” she says. “There is no place for racism in our society, and I believe that we need to stand up and show that we are listening to the communities who are hurt by it in order to start to make a real change”.
“it’s simply not enough to be non-racist anymore.”
Fallon Barton, our facilities manager, has also been involved with anti-racism campaigning.
She says that the Black Lives Matter movement is important because it shows that “people of all skin colours are opening their eyes and noticing racism. You’re either anti-racist or racist, it’s simply not enough to be non-racist anymore. I am happy to see this is not Black Vs White, it’s Humanity Vs Racism.”
“Racism in all its forms harms us all.”
John Cahill, partner and senior lawyer at the IAS’ Liverpool branch, has also come forward to voice his support for the movement. He talks about the privilege he has experienced during his life because of the colour of his skin:
“I haven’t had the experience of being made to feel different because of the colour of my skin”, John says. “I haven’t faced prejudice or discrimination – whether directly or indirectly – because of my race. I haven’t felt uncomfortable in the presence of law enforcement, or made to feel unwelcome.
“However,” he continues, “many of my friends and my colleagues have.”
“Racism in all its forms harms us all. I’m inspired by the courage of those who continue to draw attention to the racism and injustice that still exists in our society, forcing us to confront it – it’s long overdue.”
“A sense of community”
Sara Abel, one of our caseworkers from Leicester attended her local protest.
“There were almost 4,000 people there — it really is great to see! I felt such a sense of community too!” she says.
Sara goes on to share some of the important petitions she is supporting right now, which she encourages others to get involved with:
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