What it means to be Black in Britain

It means:

• Being three times more likely to be tasered by Police
• 50% more likely to be detained under the mental health act
• 28% more likely to be stopped and searched by Police

This is the harsh reality of being black in Britain and it’s easy, to want to shy away from these shocking statistics. Although I knew that we are still heavily discriminated against and are still viewed as the inferior race.

I don’t think I fully comprehended, the true severity of the situation until a few weeks ago, when I came face to face with what it truly means to be black in Britain.

On the 3rd October 2015 I attended an event in Brixton, which commemorated the 30th year that Cherry Groce was wrongfully shot by the Metropolitan Police in 1985. Police raided Cherry’s home claiming they were looking for her son, the shooting left Miss Groce paralysed for the next 30 years of her life.

In 2014 (29 years later) a jury found that there were eight failings by the Police. The inquest revealed that the Police should have never raided the property in the first place. Cherry Groce died in 2011, her death, linked to the gunshot wound she sustained in ‘85’.

After the inquest Bernard Hogan-Howe Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, apologised unreservedly to the family. For the irreparable damage caused, he vowed he would support the family in getting full acknowledgement for their suffering.

After extending his support to the family, then, and in the months that followed, Bernard Hogan-Howe’s lawyers informed the family in March this year, that he will no longer be engaging in any conversation with them, with no explanation.

Please sign this petition
https://www.change.org/p/sir-bernard-hogan-howe-30-years-on-and-still-no-justice-for-the-death-of-cherry-groce, to help the family meet their 25,000 signatures, so the commissioner and the Police have to accept accountability after 30 long years.

Being present at the commemoration event moved me in such a profound way, tears filled my eyes as I watched Cherry’s Granddaughter weep. I questioned how the Police could be granted the permission to carry out this act of brutality. In this case leaving 5 children (8 being the youngest) to physically care for their paralysed Mother.

I cannot even being to imagine the sense of pain and despair, witnessing this happening to your Mum the protector and provider. Yet this innocent family has been left to mourn and challenge the system at every turn, to hold those responsible accountable.

Although I felt sickened and deeply saddened by what the Police did. This event emphasised to me the solidarity we have as a community. As I heard of the initiatives and campaigns that started as a result. I felt uplifted and hopeful to see first hand, the unity and mental strength of those that were on the front line, working tirelessly to achieve equality and justice for Cherry Groce and for our community.

We could be perfect strangers yet bound by the colour of our skin, united in our mission in achieving justice and equality. I left that event feeling even more proud of being black and I made a promise to myself that I would be more active in my work, in trying to gain equality for my community.

Since, I have joined the London Campaign against Police and State Violence, who are working to hold the Police accountable for police brutality and murder.

Other cases I would like to raise awareness of are:

Cynthia Jarrett – died in 1985 when four Police officers unlawfully raided her home looking for what they claimed was stolen property but found none. Miss Jarrett suffered a heart attack whilst the raid took place,and died upon arrival at the hospital. The police stated ‘the raid had gone without incident’.

Joy Gardner – died 1993 after the police raided her home, wanting to deport her back to Jamaica. They restrained her with 13 foot tape of adhesive wrapped around her head, handcuffs, leather straps. She collapsed and suffered brain damage, she died after suffering a cardiac arrest four days later. Three officers stood trial for manslaughter but were found not guilty.

These are just a few cases of many, although two of the tragedies took place before I was born, the last I make reference to, happened in 1993 when I was only four. Oblivious to the injustices, and years later some of us are still oblivious to the suffering caused at the hands of the Police. These cases have been swept under the carpet so neatly, Police Officers who should have been held to account have been granted freedom, freedom which they so heartlessly took away from innocent victim’s such a Cherry Groce.

I now look at society differently, as that’s what it means to be black in Britain.

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