Local community strength is path to beat racism

The woman who led the UK’s first protest in response to the killing of George Floyd in the USA has said the path to defeating racism is down to the strength of local communities and confronting ignorance.

Aba Thanki, 18, from Peckham, led a protest through Peckham and Peckham Rye Park two weeks ago to protest the death of George Floyd and the black men and women who have been mistreated by police in the UK.

“It starts with community,” she said. “People that live in Peckham now turn a blind eye when they see racism on the street.

“In Peckham which has greatly been gentrified we were standing in solidarity with those involved in events in the USA but were also reflecting and remembering our own injustices within this British judicial and police system.

“We need people that actually live in the area to stand with us in solidarity. We’ve got a big black culture in South London The only way we can get through this is if we actively do something within our community. It always starts with your community.

“Make your community like a community, speak to your neighbours and make spaces black spaces. Places like Peckahm and Brixton have become gentrifiers on one end and locals on the other. We need everyone to mix with each other and become a community.”

It was the first protest in London which has now seen a string of Black Lives Matter protests with thousands of people in attendance in the last two weeks.

John Boyega, known for his roles in the Star Wars movie franchise, is another Peckham-born protestor that has been heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter events.

John Boyega made an impassioned speech to his fellow protestors in Hyde Park last week.

“I need everyone to understand how painful it is to be reminded everyday that your race means nothing… it is very very important that we take control of this moment and make this as peaceful as possible,” he said.

The protests come after a Guardian investigation found that the Met are more than twice as likely to fine BAME people when enforcing lockdown laws and a day after a Public Health England report said BAME people had disproportionately died from COVID-19.

In April it was found that the Met had increased their rates of stop and searches by 50 per cent on the year before, which also disproportionately affects BAME people.

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