June 04, 2020
Get the latest on coronavirus. Sign up to the Daily Brief for news, explainers, how-tos, opinion and more.Black Lives Matter UK is urging supporters to play reggae hit The Harder They Come at 7pm on Thursday to protest the disproportionate impact of Coronavirus on BAME people – and a “disappointing” government review that made no recommendations.With many returning to work in the phased reopening of the economy, the campaigners want to know how those most affected, especially Black key workers, will be protected. Members of the public are being encouraged to play the reggae hit by Jamaican legend Jimmy Cliff and share clips of this to Social Media using a hashtag.Previously, Thursday evenings saw the public take to their doorsteps to “clap for carers”. The organisers chose the same day for the reggae protest to recognise the fact that BAME people are overrepresented in the NHS and other essential services.The campaigners draw attention to the fact that, while the UK depends on these workers to stay alive, these workers’ lives themselves are not being adequately protected.Protest co-organiser Alex, a founding member of Black Lives Matter UK, said people are “angry” about the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Black Lives Matter UK Urges: Play Reggae Hit At 7pm To Protest Covid Deaths Whitewash
“The timing of this very much to do with the PHE report. Though it was really descriptive and gave us figures – there’s nothing new in there. We already knew about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME people.
“It’s talking about how inequalities that already exist were just reproduced and made worse. Then, of course, people have concerns about how they were sitting on the report because they didn’t want people to riot.” The government has denied this claim, reported by Sky News at the weekend.
“A lot of people are angry.”Because this protest can be joined indoors, those who are shielding or have concerns about taking to the streets during the pandemic can still get involved.
“It’s important to find ways of protesting that work for different people, different forms of accessibility,” the co-organiser said.
“Obviously a lot of people have gone out to protest – a huge diversity of people. We’re trying to show up in other ways. Even in our organisation, we have people who are shielding at home; they’re not gonna go out but they still want to support.”
Some 15,000 demonstrators attended a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park yesterday – which was not organised by Black Lives Matter UK.
Tonight’s event will in fact be the first that the group has organised since George Floyd – a Black man – was killed on May 25 by US police.
Black Lives Matter UK is demanding that the government investigates the root causes of disparities in health for Black people and people of colour, and provides a roadmap with individual, community and structural interventions.
Rosa Johan-Uddoh, who is co-organising the event, told HuffPost UK: “In the PHE review there were no recommendations, no action points, no plan about what they’re going to do. Just a statement of fact and we don’t accept that. With this protest today we’re calling for action to be taken to make sure that statistic isn’t just what we live with now.”
Rosa added that the song was chosen in acknowledgement of the fact that music has long been a form of resistance for Black people around the world.Since its inception in 2016, Alex said Black Lives Matter members have dedicated time and effort to advocating for equality – even if it sometimes doesn’t reach headlines or isn’t commonly talked about on social media.
This includes fundraising, as well as supporting the Stansted 15 protests and the United Friends and Family campaign.
“There’s a difference between the moments when suddenly the spotlight is on us when we’re not even seeking it, and the moments when we’re trying to do stuff and not necessarily getting that airtime.” 
This comes as a coalition of 15 race equality organisations, CORE, have written to health secretary Matt Hancock to express their dismay at the PHE review over the absence of recommendations around solutions.
The letter says: “There are no suggestions about how we might reduce the number of BAME deaths or protect frontline BAME staff who remain at serious risk.
“Nor does it reach any firm conclusion about why this disproportionality occurs or analyse whether racism in its many forms plays a role.”Related... Exclusive: Oxford University Delays Publishing Diversity Data Because Of 'World Events' Opinion: The British Media Needs To Recognise Black Lives Matter As Much As Madeleine’s Jordan Peele And Mark Hamill Praise John Boyega Following Rousing Anti-Racism Speech
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