Investment Not Gestures, say Lewisham TUC

On Saturday, 13th June 2020 at midday, Lewisham Trades Union Council President, Ms Cheryl McLeod attended a demonstration on Hilly Fields, Ladywell. The event was organised by the Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group, LARAG.

Addressing the 250 strong crowd, Ms Cheryl McLeod said:

“We are in the United Nations Decade for People of Africa Decent. This runs from 2015 and ends in 2024. This highlights that people of African descent still have limited access to good education, health services and housing”

“We know that there have been 1,743 deaths in police custody since 1990. These affect black and ethnic minority groups more. We – Asian, Africans and Ethnic Minorities – make up only 14% of the population in the UK but our deaths account for over 30% of this total in London.”

“Also, remember the case of Cherry Groce and DJ Smiley Culture took his own life by stabbing himself in the chest during a police raid at his home.”

Turning to matters closer to home in Lewisham, Ms Cheryl McLeod went on to say:

“We have heard that Lewisham Council will participate in the Mayor of London’s initiative, a Commission to look at statues and other landmarks. This is very good but I want investment back into our communities.”

“I hope that Lewisham’s Mayor Egan hears us, when we say that Lewisham Council is failing our africa caribbean boys in educational attainment.”

“Lewisham Council have closed the only elderly day centre, the Calabash was our only dedicated Africa Caribbean day centre.”

“The housing waiting list comprises of many in the communities. We have Catford regeneration on the table. How many social homes are going to be built? This is a question I keep asking – you should ask this too!”

In her concluding comments, Ms Cheryl McLeod paid tribute to the trade unions and others who had worked tirelessly in the wake of the Grenfell Fire tragedy. “No doubt the Lewisham Town Hall will be lit green, we need fewer gestures and more action.” she said.

Notes for editors:

  1. The UN International Decade for People of Africa Descent more: https://www.un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent/background
  2. Deaths in Police Custody statistics more: https://www.inquest.org.uk/media-enquiries
  3. Cherry Groce, police apologise more: https://www.itv.com/news/topic/cherry-groce/
  4. Smiley Culture dies after he ‘stabs himself’ more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23146121
  5. Mayor London Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm more: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-commission-to-review-diversity
  6. Calabash Day Centre in Catford merger more: https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/18006985.bame-elderly-lose-dedicated-day-centre-lewisham/
  7. Catford Regeneration more: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/lewisham-residents-demand-halt-to-500m-regeneration-scheme/
  8. Photograph available

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