Black History Month – Stop Hate

Politics, U get me?

In honour of Black History Month I’d like to bring this poem by Benjamin Zephaniah once more.

At a time where Britain is in a post-Brexit turmoil and divisions becoming exceedingly apparent it has become essential now more than ever for us to show compassion and promote equality.

I am proud of organisations such as Sisters Uncut and UK Black Lives Matter for their truly unwavering determination to achieve these things.

Those who smear the UK BLM campaigns as unnecessary because “it’s not like America, we have it good here” need to reassess. Discrimination of any kind is a crime.

Last week was National Hate Crime Awareness Week. Reported hate crimes have risen since the result of the EU referendum and I too have been a victim of this. I spoke to Channel 4 and went on the Victoria Derbyshire show (http://bbc.in/29aFQQJ) after the incidents and was shocked to see the hateful comments left by many within the comments section on Facebook and on Twitter. There is a culture of victim-blaming culminating that never ceases to amaze me.

Hate is vengeful, blinding and deep-seated. The xenophobic rhetoric of not only the campaign but the media too, has fuelled hate, fear and division within our society. The result revealed divisions regionally around the U.K and has fuelled resentment for immigrants and Brexiteers alike.

It is time stop the hate and 100% challenge any instances of racism and discrimination that you encounter. By working together there is a chance to rebuild our communities once more.

I think it is apt to repost this prolific poem written and performed by Benjamin Zephaniah regarding the death of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993 and the determination of his family to seek justice.

Benjamin Zephaniah has donated a handwritten version of the poem below “What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us”. The poem was written in 1999 and will be displayed in the Treasures of the British Library gallery from Tuesday 17th October (yesterday).

Zephaniah’s poem is the first new item to be displayed in the gallery’s contemporary collections since 2015. More information on this piece will be revealed on Sky Arts “Treasures of the British Library” check it out!

What Stephen Lawrence has taught us – Benjamin Zephaniah

Please find the poem below. Or watch it performed here.

We know who the killers are,
We have watched them strut before us
As proud as sick Mussolinis,
We have watched them strut before us
Compassionless and arrogant,
They paraded before us,
Like angels of death
Protected by the law.
It is now an open secret
Black people do not have
Chips on their shoulders,
They just have injustice on their backs
And justice on their minds,
And now we know that the road to liberty
is as long as the road from slavery.
The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us to love each other
And never to take the tedious task
Of waiting for a bus for granted.
Watching his parents watching the cover-up
Begs the question
What are the trading standards here?
Why are we paying for a police force
That will not work for us?
The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us
That we cannot let the illusion of freedom
Endow us with a false sense of security as we walk the streets,
The whole world can now watch
The academics and the super cops
Struggling to find the definition of institutionalised racism
As we continue to die in custody
As we continue emptying our pockets on the pavements,
And we continue to ask ourselves
Why is it so official
That black people are so often killed
Without killers?
We are not talking about war or revenge
We are not talking about hypothetics or possibilities,
We are talking about where we are now
We are talking about how we live now
In this state
Under this flag, (God Save the Queen),
And god save all those black children who want to grow up
And god save all the brothers and sisters
Who like raving,
Because the death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us that racism is easy when
You have friends in high places.
And friends in high places
Have no use whatsoever
When they are not your friends.
Dear Mr Condon,
Pop out of Teletubby land,
And visit reality,
Come to an honest place
And get some advice from your neighbours,
Be enlightened by our community,
Neglect your well-paid ignorance
Because
We know who the killers are

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