My letter to Maggie Throup MP on BAME issues
I hope you and yours are as well as can be in this difficult time.
I wanted to get in touch about the Black Lives Matter movement and BAME communities, which I’m sure you’ve seen gain a lot of momentum over the past weeks following the murder of George Floyd in the United States.
I particularly want to raise some concerns, regarding the deeply ingrained structural racism that exists, in the UK as well as the US, and ask for some actions on this front from you as my MP. I would like you to raise the following in parliament and locally in Erewash:
- In my opinion, the UK should be actively condemning the behaviour of president Donald Trump and his response to protests across America. Mr Trump has incited violence and continues to issue aggressive and inflammatory responses to the black community, further inciting hatred and injustice into the police forces across the country. The UK, as a close relation to the US, should be calling this out and I ask you to use your position to do so.
- As a means of protest against actions taken by Mr Trump, the UK should no longer be supplying riot shields, tear gas and rubber bullets to the United States in response to the violent actions taken by their police forces and the incitation of violence by Mr Trump. I hope you are able to advocate this position within our parliament and the Conservative party.
- In the UK, I am deeply disturbed by the death of rail worker Belly Mujinga, who died from COVID-19 after being spat at in her place of work. The British Transport Police (BTP) said a review into Belly Mujinga’s death is in “recognition of wider public interest” after more than a million people signed an online petition in support of seeking justice for her family, and that they interviewed a 57-year-old man but said the incident did not lead to the worker’s death and decided not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). On Friday, BTP said it had invited the CPS to conduct an independent review of the available evidence, and whether there were any further lines of inquiry – I would like you to raise this in parliament and further this cause – I believe that an independent review should be commenced into the treatment of BAME people by police forces across the country, particularly the Metropolitan Police.
- As a former teacher, I have long been dismayed by the ‘whitewashing’ of British history in our schools. Minority history should be mandatory in schools, including Black history and LGBTQ+ history. You will have seen this week that Scotland are now teaching LGBTQ+ history as a mandatory part of their curriculum, I believe this policy should be in place in England and Wales and should also include the history of Britain’s injustices against BAME communities. I feel education on these issues will highlight to our children the injustice, segregation and hardship faced by BAME and LGBTQ+ communities for hundreds of years in the UK and beyond, and help to reduce the recurrence of similar issues in the future. I hope you will contact Gavin Williamson, in his capacity as the education secretary, to champion policy reforms that alter the national curriculum to this end.
- Given the significantly increased risk to BAME people of COVID-19 when compared to White people (see the recent report published by Public Health England, PHE), I feel more effort is required to understand and combat the socio-economic factors that have resulted in this increased risk. The PHE review is, at best, difficult to understand for the layperson, and is deeply unclear as to appropriate policy recommendations that can be put in place to shield BAME people from COVID-19. More effort is required by the Government on this front and I would hope that you, as one of the few MPs with a scientific background, are able to push for this report to be translated into appropriate policy.
I look forward to your response to these points and thank you for your time.