'Let Love Lead': A beautiful poster made by parent leader Ayotomiwa Esther
Parent leader and volunteer Helen leads a discussion about structural racism in the UK and calls on members of PACT to share their experiences and hopes for the future.
'I want this to end'
When I first watched the cold-hearted murder of George Floyd, I had so many emotions, I felt anger, frustration, disgust, worry and feelings of powerlessness. Following his murder, it has been positive to see people of many colours coming together to fight the injustice. Unfortunately, there are still those who try to argue that he had a criminal past, does that really justify the way he was killed? How about those that had no criminal records but had been killed unlawfully by police officers because of their skin colour, what are the excuses for that?
I think people who are privileged enough not to experience racism and have been benefiting from their white privilege are trying to look for any excuses not to deal with the real issues before their own eyes, which is institutionalised racism. Until people accept the existence of it and their role in it, this discrimination and racism will continue at the expense of black people.
The way George Floyd was killed has provoked so much anger amongst any decent human being. Amongst the black community it seems to be the tipping point, we have witnessed so much unfair treatments by the police due to racial profiling, lost so many of our people as a result of senseless killings by those who are meant to protect us. We are experiencing discrimination not just by the police, but by doctors, teachers as well as the employment sector. We are set up for failure, a poor chance of life and poverty. There are people who would like to argue those outcomes are because of poor life choices, but unless they are in the minority or have walked a mile in our shoes their intake on why the minority fail to succeed has no merit.
I have personally experienced racial discrimination because of my colour, but what hit me the most is when my son started attending school and started experiencing racism. The education system is set up to fail our kids. There are studies that show teacher bias, regarding grading and how they deal with the behaviour of children by the colour of their skin. The lack of support and attention our kids get at school compare to their white fellow students is heart-breaking to say the least. Our kids have to work harder and constantly make the effort in trying to prove that the pre assumption that their teachers have about them is wrong. Why do our kids need to endure that, why can they not be seen for what they are; children with potential.
After few days of reflection, I am fired up to do something about it, I want this to end, it will not be easy as systematic racism has existed for so long, but we as mums we can start by sharing our experiences and find ways where we can collectively fight against racism and be heard.
Join me and share your thoughts, here are some questions to get you started.
1. How did you feel when you first heard about George Floyd’s murder?
2. When have you experienced racism?
3. What message would you like to send to other mums at PACT?
Here are some of our communities responses:
Messages shared by members of our community at PACT.
'Why? What have we done wrong?'
I would like to share my experiences about the killing of George Floyd.
I couldn’t watch the video, I watched for just one minute and immediately I had to turn it off and I was so emotional. I started crying.
Even dogs and cats, even pets we don’t handle them roughly we don’t do them like that, but to a human being?!
I felt so frustrated, I felt so bad. How can this be corrected, how can love be shared between people? I tried to share somethings on social media about sharing love because hatred cannot solve the problem only love.
I have experienced something like this myself when I was moved outside of London by the Council. I went to the shopping mall with my two kids. One was walking with me and my second one was in the stroller. My eldest went to open the entrance door for me but an elderly man was obstructing it. He was maybe 70 years old. He was white. I didn’t know it was intentional so I told my son
‘Hold on Bubba, hold on for him, be careful.’ I walked by him and smiled at him as my son opened the door and I was about to go in.
I was expecting something else but with a smile, all I could hear was ‘Monkeys’
‘What?’ I quickly told my son to go in because he had already opened the door. I opened the door halfway and I said ‘What? why? Why did you say that? Why? What have we done wrong?’
And he said ‘Come on, get out you are monkeys go back to where you came from’.
I couldn’t shop for what I wanted to shop for. My day was already ruined so I did a u-turn and went back home. When I got back home I sat down and reflected on what went wrong. I smiled at him. I showed him love. Why? What did we do? I didn’t do anything wrong.
So I think he is racist, he is angry that we are black. I kept on thinking. It is not easy.
I would like every one of us to show love, from our home. I would like us to teach our kids how to share, how to show love.
I realised that most of our kids don’t see colour when you see a black girl and a white girl together and you ask is there any difference and they say nothing we are the same.
Thank you for having my say and I pray that we have a better environment where we can share love and not hatred.
We must improve our children's education
Thank you very much for the opportunity to express myself about Gorge Floyd.
When I watched the video, I got the feeling like my heart was dripping away from my chest, depressed, frustrated, deeply sad, powerless. During the knight, that image was in my head.
In Colombia racism and discrimination is a very common experience for black people. You hear words like: ‘the black was born to be a slave’; ‘the only black I like, are my shoes, because I step on them’; ‘If frogs take a contraceptive pill, black people wound not exist’ and many more. Here in London, with British people, it is totally different, I have experienced some racism but in a very different way.
The message I would send to others is the importance of EDUCATION, when someone has knowledge, no one can step on he/she.
Improve our children’s education so that you can support, love and protect them.
My wish for London
by Danna Michelly
Illustration by parent leader and volunteer Danna Michelley, sharing her vision of London and including three children from our assembly last year.
The brutal and unequivocal murder of George Floyd at the hand, or knee rather, of a white policeman ignited feelings of sadness and rage. This was another incident that has reiterated that despite slavery legally ending in the US over 400 years ago, equality has far from been achieved. The repeated incidents of police brutality within the United States by white police officers reiterated the inequality that exists within the ironically proclaimed ‘Land of the Free’. However, it isn’t the murder of George Floyd that is the greatest surprise, as the murder of innocent black lives has become an unfortunate normality, it is rather the judicial negligence following these brutal murders. The lackadaisical reaction of the judiciary underlies a clear disregard for black lives, which has ultimately borne the Black Lives Matter movement. The immunity that is provided to these white officers extends even to murder that has been caught on camera and is clear for all to see. Even the autopsy following George Floyd tragic murder revealed unsurprisingly that asphyxiation was a factor in his death.... the officer had his knee firmly on his neck despite Floyd repeatedly pleading “I can’t breathe”.
It wasn’t until the mass protests in response to this murder and the murders of many black people over the years at the hand of law enforcement officers, did the courts decide to do their job. Yet despite this, they only gave Derek Chauvin a charge of 3rd-degree murder which reiterated the injustice with the US and it decrees the evident murder a mere ‘accident’, as well as not charging his fellow officers who were more than complicit in the murder as they stood by and watched George Floyd beg for his breath. Thankfully following the worldwide horror at the police brutality towards black individuals all over the world, Chauvin's charge has been raised to 2nd degree and his colleagues have also been indicted to the murder of George Floyd. What this shows us is that injustice and prejudice still exists within America and is arguably stronger now than it was in the height of slavery as well as the fact that protests do work and when peaceful pleas are utterly disregarded unorthodox chaos does get the job done.
You express sadness and anger, but what does it mean for you as a young person? What changes do you hope to come?
As a young person of colour it is frightening to see the extent to which prejudice and racial discrimination is prominent in our current society. However, I can only hope that following these worldwide protests that there are fails safes and measures introduced to prevent the senseless murders based on mere prejudice and ways to hold those who do enact such a brutal act of violence to be held accountable and justice be served. Most importantly I hope that everyone takes the time to educate themselves with the issues within the world, beyond police brutality and take a look upon themselves and determine how they can do better and help those around them as ultimately racism isn’t innate...... it is taught!
The murder of George Floyd in the US by the policeman was only one of too many deaths of a black person at the hands of a white person who believe that they are superior solely because of their skin colour. Seeing the video of George Floyd being suffocated to death was incredibly overwhelming and greatly upset me as I could not and still cannot and refuse to fathom why one person could kill another. However, it did not shock me as much as it should have as this has become a regular occurrence in the world, especially in the US as this comes after the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery by two white supremacists.
As a young, Muslim female of colour, the inhumane and brutal murder of George Floyd impacted me greatly because it was the death of an innocent man, father, husband and son. Despite this, many people in society have become desensitised to deaths occurring to the innocent people of colour in society. All around the world innocent men, women and children of all colours and religions are being persecuted for no reason and as human beings, we should all be doing better to educate ourselves on the topics of racism and prejudice towards other faiths and religions.
Black Lives Matter
An important message from Tayo
We are not to blame
After watching the brutal killing of George Floyd, I felt so sad, downhearted and I cried. I concluded that it is very difficult for black people to live in a white majority country, especially in America. I concluded that all these things are happening because people don't respect black people but we are not to blame.
Watching the events in America and the violence inflicted on George Floyd made me think about the violence and discrimination I have experienced. As a Biafran woman, I have witnessed lots of discrimination in my life. We have experienced genocide and witnessing such violence again makes me feel like I am not a human being and I feel so traumatised.
When we see violence we must acknowledge it and we must respond to prevent it from ever happening again and this can start with education. I would like the UK government to include Black history in their school curriculum and acknowledge a Colonial past, so that we can learn how to end racism and inequality from primary all the way to tertiary institutions.
We can end discrimination.
Black Lives Matter
Hello Everyone, I'm Elsie. I'm going to be sounding a little bit different from the usual Elsie today because I will be making an appeal to our consciences.
I have been involved in different campaigns at PACT and Citizen UK and all of these different campaigns have been based on the fight against inequality and racism.
Before I go further, I will like us to have a minute of silence in memory of George Floyd and other victims around the world who have lost their lives as a result of racial inequality.
George Floyd death shouldn't have happened. A human shouldn't feel comfortable taking another humans life away with their hands in their pocket because if white superiority. George Floyd cried out, saying " Sir, I can't breathe" but the police officer didn't have compassion for him. He called on his "MAMA" for help to no avail. George Floyd death took away a husband, brother, friend and above all a dad. This gap can never ever be filled by someone else but George Floyd because we are all unique in our own different ways.
This shouldn't happen in the 21st century and in 2020.
As a Christian, we are all equal before God.
I have been working on different campaigns at PACT and with Citizens UK and I haven't felt any form of discrimination because of my race. At PACT and Citizens UK, we have leaders who are of black, white, Asian etc ethnic background. There is to say, there is diversity. I feel very comfortable and welcome both at PACT and Citizens UK. During our meetings, everyone's input is valuable as long as it for the success of the different campaigns. There is nothing like one person's idea can't be taken into consideration because of their race which makes them inferior. We always appreciate any valuable idea and input from everyone.
I will like the society to be that which everyone has equal opportunities and chances of success.
I will like to say NO to structural racism as it does not have a place within the community, society and the world at large.
No one should feel superior/ inferior to another simply because of the colour of their skin.
Black Lives Matter.
If you would like to share your thoughts and experiences, please reach out to a member of staff or message Minnie at 07495 032811.
For more information about The Impact of Covid-19 on BAME Communities, and Living Wage for Careworkers check out Citizens UK's post. You'll be able to find a list of great resources, articles and books about race, inequality and organising for change.
If you would like to hear more from PACT's writing group, check out our articles: