I’m sorry that a personal commitment means that I can’t be with you today, but I stand in solidarity with you and all those rightly and urgently demanding an end to injustice and the deep inequalities that still remain in our societies – and demanding that black lives matter.
But more than just expressing solidarity, it is now upon all of us to be pro-active anti-racists, be true allies and work within our spheres of influence to bring about the systemic change that justice demands.
The Green Party of England and Wales is undergoing a process to reflect and act on racism within our own structures, policies and practices. I will work with Party leaders to support and drive this forward.
Whilst reform is needed across society, there is a particularly urgent need to talk about policing.
According to StopWatch, Sussex police force areas are some of the worst in the country for disproportionate numbers of stop and searches of black people. In 2018/19, black people were almost 11 times more likely to be searched by Sussex police forces than white people.
The disproportionate and discriminatory policing of our communities is harmful and unfair, and we cannot claim that there is only work to do on the other side of the Atlantic. We have to confront and change what is happening here, on our doorsteps.
I have been overwhelmed and heartened by the sheer number of Brighton residents that have been in contact with me over the past months to demand that black lives matter. Although I am not complacent about the amount of work there is to be done – and recognise where responsibility for doing that work lies - it does feel as though we are living through a moment of positive change. As well as a shift in awareness, I hope we can take action together to ensure this leads to justice and the necessary shift in power too.
In solidarity, Caroline