Let me begin by saying this. As a white woman I will never experience the racial injustice black people and minority communities face, not just throughout their lives, but on a daily basis. However, I can educate myself, understand the injustices they face and use my position to do something about it.
The images of the brutal killing of George Floyd in the United States were horrifying. Like you, I was incredibly distressed and shocked by the footage of what happened to George Floyd. Justice must be done and I’m following closely what is happening in the US.
I entirely understand the strength of feeling over this situation and I fully support the right to peacefully protest. I stand with the Black Lives Matters movement. I support the cause because black lives matter.
Diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Our multi-cultural and multi-racial society should be celebrated, and by the vast majority of people it is. But I completely accept that minorities still feel there are racial barriers which hold them back, and as a country we must therefore do better.
I am proud to be part of the most ethnically diverse government in the history of this country, with two of the four great offices of state held by a man and a woman of Indian origin. As the Chancellor said, progress has been made, but the story isn’t over.
However, as much as I support the right to peacefully protest, over the weekend we saw a minority of people undermine the cause and the message of the protests by rioting and engaging in thuggery. This is unacceptable and the perpetrators should be held to account. They have betrayed the cause they claim to serve.
I also regret the lack of adherence to social distancing in some protests. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and this shouldn’t be forgotten. The protest in Redditch last Friday was entirely peaceful, socially distanced and sent a very strong message.
The attacks we’ve seen on our police in London have angered me too. I’ve spent a lot of time in Redditch with our dedicated, hard-working and caring police officers. Every day they leave their homes and head to work in order to keep us all safe. They do not deserve to be abused and attacked. Those who attacked officers over the weekend should be brought to justice.
Change must be brought about peacefully and democratically, and not through vandalism and attacks on our police.