Thursday, 11 August 2011
Reverend Jesse Jackson joins BME leaders in voicing concern
A coalition of BME leaders including Reverend Jesse Jackson have come together to voice their concerns about the recent events which have hit Britain.
Read the full statement below:
We, the undersigned, condemn the wanton violence and looting that has been perpetrated in our communities over the last few days. Above all it is good people in our areas such as Tottenham, Enfield, Walthamstow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Brixton who are most affected by these unacceptable actions.
However, whilst, unreservedly condemning the disgraceful actions of a minority, we must not ignore those elements that make these occurrences more likely. For example, the death of Mark Duggan is sad enough, however, the lack of information to his family and very conflicting reports of how his death occurred leads many to hold a deep distrust towards some authorities including the police.
Sadly this unclear, and at times, conflicting information given by the police and other related bodies has occurred in a number of recent deaths of Black men in police custody.
Equally we strongly feel that to do this debate, we must not ignore other conditions that make these occurrences more probable, including high Black and Minority Ethnic (BME):
- levels of youth unemployment
- levels of police stop and search
- detention rates under the Mental Health Act in the country
- the decimation of voluntary organisations which cater for young men and women in these areas.
In no way are these excuses for lawbreaking, but they are factors that need to be considered.
Our final message is to our communities in which we serve. Together, we must forge an even stronger sense of local community.
We call upon our MPs , Councillors and church leaders to meet and discuss our response. We call upon our young men and women to reject those who see this as an excuse for unlawful behaviour including looting, and show the rest of country our readiness to shoulder the responsibility to rebuild our communities out of the ashes of destruction.
Signed by: Reverend Jesse Jackson; Rainbow-Push Coalition; Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote; Rob Berkeley, Runnymede Trust; Dr Elizabeth Henry, ROTA; Lee Jasper, BARAC; Sharon Grant, Chair of Haringey CAB; Remi Kapo, Author; Matilda MacAttram, Black Mental Health UK; Claudia Webbe, Operation Trident; Jeremy Crook, BTEG; Bishop David Shoshanya; Bishop Joe Aldred; Remi Kapo, Author; Karen Chouhan, Equanomics UK; Vandna Gohil, Voice 4 Change; Bishop Wayne Malcolm; Dave Weaver, 1990 Trust & Viv Ahmun, Black Men in the Community.
(Originally published at OBV http://www.obv.org.uk)