Marking the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will today mark the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by attending a vigil in Liverpool city centre.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor Rotheram said:

“George Floyd’s murder and the outpouring of anger and grief that followed turned a spotlight on the deep-seated and structural inequalities which still exist in our society.

“As Mayor, I wanted to take firm action to make sure that the organisation and the region I lead were doing what we can to address those injustices. Working in partnership with diverse communities across our region, we developed and launched the Race Equality Programme last year.

“That programme has already seen us set ourselves challenging targets around representation in our workforce and making our funding programmes more accessible, as well as investing hundreds of thousands of pounds into projects designed to tackle institutional and systemic racism.

“That is just the start of our work.  I will always be an ally to our black and minority ethnic communities but as a middle-aged white man I know I won’t have the solutions.  That’s why I’m committed to listening and learning from people with lived experience of racism and amplifying their voices. Together we will remember George Floyd, and the thousands like him, and work to build a city region for all.”

Emy Onuora, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Race Equality Project Manager, recruited last year, has his own reflections on the impact of George Floyd’s murder:

“On the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, whose slow, painful death on the 25th May 2020, at the hands of Minneapolis, Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, was captured on film and broadcast around the world, it’s worth remembering the impact his killing had, not only in the United States but around the world.

“Protests against police brutality and racial injustice occurred in all 50 US states, including many predominantly white cities, towns and rural areas. According to news outlet, CNN, an estimated 21million US adults took part in protests and vigils, making it the biggest movement in US history, far outstripping Civil Rights and anti-war protests of the past.

“However, it was the impact on US local government, business and sports that have demonstrated how the protests served to bring about a palpable change in US attitudes towards racial inequality. Many administrative areas, introduced legislation outlawing chokeholds and bringing in greater police accountability, as well as pledging greater resources for schools, housing and employment within African-American communities.

“Many businesses and corporations pledged to provide funding for positive action and equality initiatives and to diversify their workforce and senior leadership. Others like Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Jemima’s pledged to rebrand their products to remove racist stereotypes and caricatures. In sports, the NFL, that just a few years earlier had worked to condemn Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco, 49ers quarterback for taking a knee in protest at racial injustice, pledged substantial funding for worthy causes. The Washington Redskins, dropped Redskins, from their name, after years of refusal in the face of opposition, and removed caricatures of Native Americans from its branding, and athletes protested and pledged support for racial equality.

“Globally, protests were held in over 60 countries across the world including over 260 towns and cities in the UK, including Monmouth in South Wales and Shetland in Scotland. These were the largest protests against racial injustice since the 1833 abolitionist movement, where 1.3 million Britons signed petitions to abolish slavery.

“Within the city region, there were protests at St. Georges Hall, where several thousand people, young and old, black and white demanded an end to racial inequality and our civic leaders pledged to do more to end racial injustice and to use their influence to encourage others to do the same.

“A year on, Derek Chauvin is in prison, and the global protests have waned, but the movement to end racial inequality is still strong. Across the city region, an ever-growing list of institutions and organisations continue to pledge that they will do more to end racial inequality and we must ensure those pledges are translated into action. The first year of the largest global protests against racial inequality is an important milestone and many of our regions’ iconic buildings and structures will be lit up in memory of George Floyd. Our Black, Asian and Minority communities continue to suffer great inequalities as evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact of unemployment, particularly amongst young people. If we can ensure that as our economy emerges from the impact of the coronavirus, racial inequality begins to become something from a bygone age, then maybe something good can come from George Floyd’s untimely death.

“Until then, on this sad anniversary, we will remember George Floyd, and will be thinking of his friends and family on this painful day.”

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