PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release
Friday 16 October 2020
Major International online Conference this weekend: From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter – Confronting Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive
- International Plenary 5PM Saturday 17 October
- Closing Rally 5PM Sunday 18 October
- Workshops 3PM Saturday 17 October
Over 50 speakers in 7 workshops & 2 plenaries including: Diane Abbott MP | Jeremy Corbyn MP | Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP | Dawn Butler MP | Kate Osamor MP | Kevin Courtney, NEU joint General Secretary | Roger McKenzie, Unison Assistant General Secretary | Jacqueline Luqman (US), host and producer The Real News Network | Lowkey Rapper & Acvitist | Lawrence Davies, Human Rights Lawyer, Justice for Belly Mujinga | Danny Haiphong (US), Black Agenda Report | Thanasis Kampagiannis (Greece), Anti fascist lawyer in Golden Dawn trial | Martvs Chagas (Brazil), PT’s National Secretary for Combating Racism | Petros Constantinou (Greece), KEEFA | Christine Buchholz (Germany), MP/ Aufstehen Gegen Rasismuss | Mahamadou Camara (France), Justice Campaigner | Baba Aye (Nigeria) | Shaka Hislop, former footballer & Show Racism The Red Card Honorary President | Eyewitness testimonies of police violence including Andrew Boateng, Ryan Colaço, Neomi Bennett and Mina Agyepong
As the Coronavirus crisis intensifies and the US prepares for Presidential Elections, a major international conference will take place this weekend bringing together campaigners from Europe, the US, Africa and Brazil to discuss challenging the global rise of racism.
Figures released this week in Britain revealed record levels of hate crime, three quarters of which were race hate, and a tripling of attacks against the Chinese community. Building unity against racism, Islamophobia & antisemitism will be a key thread of the event. As government led attacks on refugees intensify, campaigners will also call for safe passage for refugees and an end to scapegoating.
With the COVID pandemic continuing to disproportionately affect BAME communities, campaigners will call for an independent inquiry into disproportionate impact as well as immediate measures to supproess the virus while giving economic support to allow people to follow them.
Following the inspiring growth Black Lives Matter movement, speakers will call for action on police violence including an end to Section 60 Stop and search, the teaching of Black history in schools and continued pressure for a reckoning with Britain’s colonial legacy, as well co-ordinating international anti-racist activity such as UN anti-racism day, 20 March 2021.
Diane Abbott MP said
“There is a general crisis in terms of public health and of the economy. Unfortunately this government and many others responds to all crises by scapegoating of all types including racism. They try to shift the blame for their own disastrous failings. We must not let them. Black people, Muslims, Jews or Chinese people did not cause this crisis. It was not caused by refugees or migrants. It was caused by government policy and we cannot let them divide us.”
Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said
“I urge all people of goodwill to come to the Stand Up to Racism conference this weekend. Lets come together at this moment of multiple crises to make a better world for all.”
Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism Co-Convenor said:
“The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired millions across the world. As Donald Trump attempts to use racism to win a second term, this conference will hear from people at the centre of this global struggle on how we take things to the next level, defeat racists such as Trump and achieve real change.”
Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up To Racism Co-convenor said:
The thousands of preventable deaths caused by the disproportionate impact of COVID due to government mishandling, structural racism and health inequalities mean now is a crucial time for the anti-racist movement to meet. Over 25% of hospital admissions and over 30% of people in intensive care from BAME communities. We desperately need a strategy to eliminate, not ‘live alongside’ this virus as well as an independent public inquiry on disproportionate impact. This conference is where we can discuss making that happen.
Michael Wong (US), Pivot to Peace said:
“From its earliest history, the United States was built on the genocide of the Native Americans, the slavery of African Americans, the exploitation of Latino and Asian labor, and the “divide and conquer” strategy of pitting different working class groups against each other to keep each in “its place.” But also from our earliest history, there have also been those Americans of all races, genders, and classes — Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, and White, male or female, rich or poor — who stood up in solidarity against enslavement, exploitation, and division, and fought for the rights of all people, regardless of race, gender, creed, or anything else, and drove positive change in America. Today as in the past, either we all stand together, or we all hang separately. The answer to “divide and conquer” is solidarity, the solidarity of all peoples.”
Thanasis Kampagiannis, lead lawyer in the trial and conviction of fascist Golden Dawn, Greece, said
“The conviction of Golden Dawn is a historic victory for the anti-fascist movement in Greece and internationally. We are now fighting to the very end to ensure that stiff sentences for the leaders mean jail now not parole pending distant appeal hearings. The Stand Up to Racism conference is a welcome part of that continuing battle.”
Michael Brown, LA Black Lives Matter activist, said
“With yet another US election fast approaching this November, where both candidates on offer, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, are vying to preside over who will sit atop and further empire, austerity, attacks on workers’ rights and the national security state. Mass movements such as Black Lives Matter are sure to play an integral role in shaping resistance during the struggles to come.
“How, when, and in what form will those struggles take shape, are still open questions. For certain, neither Trump or Biden presents any progressive way forward for the working class. Both capitalist politicians, regardless of who wins, must be challenged from the grassroots, by a multi-racial working class, conscious of its class interests. Anti-racism must be at the heart of that struggle.”
Jacqueline Luqman (US), Host & Producer of The Real News said
America’s refusal to see the fascism in its long history of racist and classist oppression in the US and around the world is why so many believe that fascism is just now being ushered in under Trump. Because it doesn’t look like the SS, they don’t see that fascism has always been here and has led us to this point.
Danny Haiphong (US), Black Agenda Report said:
Full solidarity must be given to Black Lives Matter. Anti-China racism must be rejected without hesitation. How we express and act on these principles should be the only thing up for debate.”
Petros Constantinou, coordinator of KEERFA, councillor Athens municipality, said
“The verdict of the trial for the neonazis of Golden Dawn on 7 October with a historic condemnation as a criminal organization, and the life sentence for the murderer of musician Pavlos Fyssas, was announced to hundreds of thousands of anti fascist demonstrators outside the Appeal court. Trade unions called a general strike of three hours that day.
“This success was made possible because the battle against the neo-Nazis of the Golden Dawn became a matter for the people who fight for their jobs, for their schools and colleges, so that they are not killed in catastrophic floods and fires, so that the refugees and the immigrants are not lost in the waters of the Aegean, in the fences of Evros and in Moria. It is the same force that sparked anti-fascist demonstrations when Shezad Luqman was assassinated in Petralona and even louder when Pavlos Fyssas was assassinated in Keratsini.
“It is the fruit of struggles that we had to give for many years and to escalate after the 2012 elections when the Golden Dawn entered Parliament. It is a success for KEERFA that has given its strength since 2009. Mass workers action, united front against the nazis and “bring them to the court room”, were the crucial choices that made possible this success.
“But this not the end for fascist threat! Racism opens the way for the fascists and we have to continue, by joining forces internationally against Trumps, Slavinis and Le Pens, against racist policies of Fortress Europe.”
Zita Holbourne, PCS vice president, said
“Black people have contracted and died disproportionately from covid and those who are displaced due to climate poverty and persecution have bern left at high risk with no support, brutality and deaths at the hands of the state including the horrific killing of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd continue, racist immigration laws mean some of us are treated as second class citizens, the injustice that continues for the Windrush generation and their descendants including Osime Brown and the adverse impacts on black and migrant workers in sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis mean that we are going through a collective trauma which never seems to end.
“The global protests by the black lives matter movement have been a rallying call for action to address the systemic, institutional and every day racism we experience. Racism is a global issue so it is crucial that we work together across the world to combat it, but not just to respond to recism when it occurs but for race equality in our lifetime.”
Brendan Woodhouse, Fire fighter, FBU members and Seawatch activist, said
I will be speaking at the conference to highlight Europe’s deadly border policies and the horrific effect that these are having on real human beings”
Victoria Showunmi, UCU Black Members Committee & NEC, said
“I have learned that there are some experiences that I can’t discuss with white friends, like the emotional effects of police brutality or Black on Black violence, and with Black friends I would not dare share the experiences of what I am giving a voice to now, my double identity or the difficulty of acclimating to their outspoken lingo and aggressive activism in the face of race inequalities.”
Andrew Boateng, Football coach, scout and community campaigner, who was accosted by police while crying with his son, said
“It is important that people from all backgrounds stand together in the very real battle against racism, as it takes a collective of like-minded individuals striving for the same cause to make real positive change through structured solutions. Please do join the debate and contribute to making positive change an imminent reality”
Ryan Colaço, stopped repeatedly by police, justice campaigner, said
“You can constantly & unlawfully handcuff us but you will never silence the fight. We will get justice.”
Neomi Bennett, BEM, registered nurse, Dragons Den Entrepreneur & Inventor of Multi-Award Winning Neo-slip medical aid, 2018 Queen’s Honour recipient for services to Healthcare, and as of 2020 CEO and Founder of Equality 4 Black Nurses, said
“Equality 4 Black Nurses aims to bring about positive change by lobbying employers and government to reduce and eradicate racial discrimination in the Healthcare Sector.
I as a Black Nurse find it deeply shocking and seriously disturbing to discover that according to data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 62% of referrals and reports for investigation of Black nurses result in no case to answer.
I was also mortified to learn that as recent as 2019 a UK report into maternal health (Oxford University) found Black women are five times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or in the postpartum period, compared to their white counterparts.
I also find it astonishing that a May 2020 study revealed that 63% of the first 106 deaths from Covid-19 were made up from Health Care Workers from Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This is compounded by the fact that Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff make up just 20% of the NHS workforce.”
Virgil Bitu, GR8 Gypsy Roma Traveller community, said
“I will be speaking at the conference on Antigypsyism – the ultimate form of hate crime.”
Baba Aye, Black Lives Matter activist, Nigeria, said
“As we fight to overthrow capitalism and defeat racism, we learn that struggle is the way to victory.”
Sans Soucis, musician and artist, said
“I’m really excited to take part to this panel to support music and culture against racism. We live in a world were human connection is becoming a rare privilege. Music and sport can guide us through this moment of cultural crisis by bringing people together, regardless of who they are. Change happens when we find the stillness to be able to listen to one another.”
1. Stand Up To Racism International Conference (online) on Sat 17 & Sun 18 October – ‘Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive’ with speakers from the UK, US & across the world.
For further information, interviews and quotes: