Black and Asian members of the Reading and District Labour Party wish to express their outrage over the callous murder of George Floyd which took place on 25 May 2020. This horrific and abominable event is not isolated. It personifies systemic racism and police violence all over the world including here in the UK, on our home turf. We stand in complete solidarity with Floyd’s family and the Black Lives Matter network in condemning the actions that led to his death which have sparked global protests against racism.

Black people are 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched and receive harsher sentences across the justice system. Black people are over-represented in school exclusions and underrepresented in good educational outcomes. Black people are less likely to be represented in senior leadership roles and more likely to die from Covid-19. This is what structural racism looks like.

In response, we urge our local civic leaders, businesses and other external organisations to identify and tackle processes and procedures that lead to the unjust inequalities which we experience on a daily basis. We are ever ready to have an open dialogue in leading and facilitating the changes that are so desperately needed. We ask individuals to listen to our experiences and reflect on what they can do to support our cause.

We will grieve the killing of George Floyd and remember him by meaningfully engaging with Black people and other diverse communities to push for the implementation of fair criminal justice policies, inclusive education and training and effective leadership within our police force.

Together we must eradicate racism and build a better future.

Signed in solidarity by:

Boubacar Dembele
BAM Officer of Reading & District Labour Party

Sarah Hacker
Chair on behalf of Reading & District Labour Party

Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East

Jason Brock
Leader of Reading Borough Council on behalf of the Labour Group

Add your signature to this letter by adding a comment below.


  1. Gareth Langston on 08/06/2020 at 15:00

    Gareth Langston – Policy Officer, Reading & District Labour Party

    • John Partington on 08/06/2020 at 17:39

      As a socialist, trade unionist – but more importantly as a human being – the murder of George Floyd at the hands both of the American state and of the individual, Derek Chauvin, sickens and appalls me. I’m reminded of the divergent but complementary responses to the slaying of Medgar Evers in 1963 by Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs: racial oppression is so institutionalised in American society that Chauvin might well be considered a “pawn in their game” as he extinguished George’s life while three other (white) officers looked on; nonetheless, at a human level, “The country gained a killer and the country lost a man“. What should be clear in the aftermath of the vicious deed Is that “It struck the heart of every man [and woman] when [George Floyd] fell and died”. In fact, however, that isn’t clear at all.

      ‘Black Lives Matter‘ is a deliberate misnomer for a movement that ought to be called ‘Black Lives Have Always Mattered‘. Deliberate, as the social, economic and political (in other words, the cultural) ignorance of this fact makes a revelatory assertion necessary. In our own society, we’re killing BAM brothers and sisters disproportionately with Coronavirus, Public Health England dutifully published a thick report demonstrating the fact – but it omitted to mention the kind of mitigations or controls which might counter this situation. THAT is institutional racism. Our BAM cousins are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than others of us. THAT is institutional racism. The BAM person on the bus or train is less likely to have a fellow passenger sit in the vacant seat next to them than other folk in similar circumstances. THAT is cultural racism. And that’s without mentioning housing policy, career opportunities, incarceration rates and educational chances.

      Our society is programmed to lash out at the BAM person just as surely as it is programmed to nurture and support white middle class people (with middle class men especially privileged). The reason why our society hasn’t forgiven itself for the Empire is not because the question has not been put but because our society by and large sees nothing to apologise for!

      We either ‘take the knee’ or we’re racist. There is no middle ground in this matter. We can’t all claim emotionally to be George Floyd for that would stretch the notion of empathy too far – but we can all be anti-racists, anti-fascists. It’s a choice.

      John Partington
      Trade Union Liaison Officer, Reading & District Labour Party
      Secretary, Reading Trades Union Council
      Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association workplace representative

  2. Kathy McCubbing, Vice Chair Reading & District Labour Party, Reading East on 08/06/2020 at 15:09

    These disgraceful acts of violent racism have been perpetrated on people of colour for far too long, not just in the USA, but here in Britain as well (and around the world), and few police officers are brought to justice as a consequence. Racism is a scourge in our society and needs to be actively opposed: to be silent is to be complicit. Education is key to making progress with this, starting off in Britain with proper teaching of Britain’s bloody and brutal colonial history and stopping the glamourisation of those who led it, and whose statues blight too many cities and towns in our country.

  3. Angie Burnish on 08/06/2020 at 15:43

    Angie Burnish Disability Officer, Reading & District Labour Party

  4. Alison Marshall on 08/06/2020 at 15:56

    Black Lives Matter

  5. Charles Croal on 08/06/2020 at 16:06

    Charlie Croal Secretary West Berks Branch Labour Party

  6. James Mugo on 08/06/2020 at 16:14

    As the Chair of ACRE, I have exactly told statutory bodies in Reading what the Labour Black and Asian members in Reading have expressed. But nobody listens. A BAME member has to fake names albeit a good CV in a job application just to be shortlisted. BAME are mostly over-qualified in jobs available to them: a Ph.D holder doing those low paying jobs and you can’t see a person from the main community in such jobs. Some get their job of preference even before graduation. No BAME at strategic level. What does the society in whole think about it? We need reforms to see BAME as an integral part of the UK society and allow career progression on merits, but not skin colour.

  7. Councillor Chris Maskell on 08/06/2020 at 16:23

    I have no words that can adequately describe my revulsion for those who perpetrated such a vile crime agains fellow human beings.

    • Alicia Léal-Brighty on 08/06/2020 at 21:28

      Please let this be the catalyst for change. I’m sure my ancestors didn’t expect us to be still fighting for equality 200 years after they were “set free”. We cannot rest until we have true freedom; which is to be seen as human beings and not by the colour of our skin.

  8. Rachel Eden on 08/06/2020 at 17:21

    In solidarity with black members and residents in Reading.

  9. Cllr Rachel Eden on 08/06/2020 at 17:21

    In solidarity with black members and residents in Reading. Councillor for Whitley and Deputy Mayor of Reading

  10. Micky Leng on 08/06/2020 at 17:35

    Solidarity & equality for all..

    • Stephen Pierce on 08/06/2020 at 21:33

      In Solidarity.
      Labour Party Member.

  11. Nick Hatton on 09/06/2020 at 11:45

    Black Lives Matter.

  12. Pogle Stowell on 09/06/2020 at 11:51

    Black lives do matter!

  13. John Oversby on 09/06/2020 at 15:14

    Black Lives do Matter

  14. Matt Harrison, RDLP Campaigns Officer. on 10/06/2020 at 00:06

    I wish it was not necessary for us to have to stand in solidarity against al forms of racism. However, it is, we must and I absolutely do.

  15. Josephine Souter on 10/06/2020 at 00:55

    Black Lives Matter

  16. Shoaepane Nathane on 10/06/2020 at 06:36

    Black lives Matter

  17. Tom Lake on 10/06/2020 at 09:50

    Black Lives Matter. All must breathe.

  18. Lynda Miller on 10/06/2020 at 15:13

    Black Lives Matter.
    In solidarity.

  19. Cllr. Shirley Boyt on 10/06/2020 at 16:51

    Scientists will find a preventative and/or cure for Covid-19. The rest of us must stand shoulder to shoulder to find a preventative and/or cure for racism. There have been too many worthless placebos, platitudes and promises. Enough is Enough!

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