We have taken our time in publishing our response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter campaigning and protesting activities. The voices of people of colour needed to be heard and not drowned-out by well-meaning bodies corporate. They still need to be heard but the clamour amongst businesses to issue statements has already died-down.
Central Chambers is founded upon the principles of non-discrimination. Not just that: we are a chambers whose members are variously involved in actively working against racism and all other types of bigotry and ignorance. We do that through campaigning, protesting and supporting those who the justice system fails. We have a long tradition of this and we will continue to do so.
In particular, our protest and crime teams have made themselves available to assist with free advice and assistance to those who are involved in campaigning and protesting. Members attended (whilst socially distancing) events last weekend to show support but also to observe how the authorities were reacting to the protests.
We are pleased to report that, in our home of Manchester, the police were almost invisible during the protests. The protests were peaceful and people wore appropriate PPE. Groups appeared to be separating themselves from other groups – suggesting that, for the most part, the social distancing guidance was being followed despite the huge numbers in attendance.
We are fortunate to have had this experience as, in some cities, evidence is growing of police antagonism, “professional” troublemaker involvement, and aggression by Far Right groups. We are Manchester and, as you know, we do things differently here.
Nevertheless, this weekend, it appears that the counter-protests are better organised and larger in likely numbers and we know that GMP will have to be a more visible presence. We hope that protesters for Black Lives Matter will be smarter than those who seek to malign the cause and will not be drawn into criminal conduct due to provocation by anybody.
In any event, as before, we stand ready to advise and assist.
On another note, it is particularly apposite that, during the main speakers’ appearances last week, much mention was made of the oppression of black trans women in relation to the struggle for basic human rights for people of colour and the queer community. Apposite because this is Pride month and the causes are intrinsically linked in this country and elsewhere in the world.
We believe that no human-being is “illegal”. We believe that those who are discriminated against and oppressed should always be encouraged to see and to support those who have been similarly oppressed. They have that in common and the world feels like it is lacking empathy in 2020.
All of the above in mind, if you require advice and assistance, please contact us and we will do what we can. We stand in solidarity with your cause.
- The Executive Board of Central Chambers