Statement on the killing of Chris Kaba

The fatal shooting of Chris Kaba has shaken and outraged people across our communities. It is devastating to see yet another Black person’s life taken by the police, however not surprising, since we are more than twice as likely to die during or following police contact. Only three months ago, Oladeji Adeyemi Omishore died after being tasered by the police on Chelsea Bridge. With each death, our community experiences collective grief. Black people across the UK are left wondering: who’s next? And how can justice and accountability be achieved? Thousands turned out to show solidarity and support to the Kaba family at a protest last weekend. This action followed the launch of a homicide investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into Chris Kaba’s death. We welcome this swift response, however, we know that the journey for answers can span years and for many justice is rarely an outcome. 

In this moment, we must resist sceptics’ demands for a ‘perfect victim’ – an impossible standard that cannot be met. Conversations surrounding Kaba’s death have already been tainted with hearsay and speculation around his personal history – what he might have done to ‘deserve’ it. Let us be clear: we believe that no one deserves death at the hands of the state. It is also impossible to discern fact from fiction when we know that both the Met and the media have historically colluded in slandering Black victims in death, for example, when they claimed that Mark Duggan ‘came from a gangster family’, and cropped photos of him at his baby’s grave to make him look more ‘threatening’. It is clear that the game is rigged – and so we must resist the demand to prove each victims’ innocence, when we have decades’ worth of evidence that the police and criminal justice system is guilty of institutional racism.

Now is the time for action – we should be turning out to show solidarity with Kaba’s family and all those organising against racist policing. The family is currently raising funds for their campaign for justice, since these campaigns are often costly, traumatic, and entail taking unpaid time off work. We want to encourage people to make a donation, large or small, to help them cover these costs. We are currently providing material support and will announce the details soon. For regular updates about the family campaign, upcoming protests and any other relevant information to the case, we recommend following @JusticeForChrisKaba on Instagram. We send our endless support, solidarity and healing to the Kaba family and to all impacted by police and state violence.

Feb 2021: UKBLM Interview with The Voice

BLACK LIVES Matter UK announced that it will be giving £600,000 from its £1.2million raised via GoFundMe after last summer’s protests to grassroots groups focusing on helping the black community.

Following the announcement, The Voice sat down – on zoom, of course – with Director of BLM UK Alex Wanjiku Kelbert and spokesperson for BLM Lorna Mulungushi to hear more about BLM UK, find out who is behind it, how they decided to distribute the money, and their plans for the future. For more, check out The Voice’s Sophie Huskisson’s full interview: ‘We are really lucky to be living in this moment’: An exclusive interview with the people behind Black Lives Matter UK.

Feb 2021: Round 1 Donations

Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) announces that it is releasing £600,000 in funding to grassroots groups working for Black communities.

These funds constitute 50% of the money the volunteer-led organisation crowdfunded via GoFundMe over the summer of 2020.

The money will be awarded in two phases – the first set of funds have now been distributed. This first round has seen just over £169,500 given in small grants to organisations BLMUK has worked with over the last five years. For more information, check out Nadine White’s Exclusive in the Huffington Post: Revealed: Who Will Get First Black Lives Matter UK Grants After £1m Fundraiser, or check out our Fund page.

February 2021: #Justice4 Christopher Campaign

Christopher Kapessa – a young black boy subjected to violent racist bullying, has lost his life at the hands of his tormentors.

He is being failed by our racist police system, and needs the help of the community for both his family to get justice, and to help ensure others don’t have to endure the same racist violence.

Speakers included:

o Alina Joseph, Christopher’s mother
o Faith Walker, friend of the family
o Beth Winter, MP for Cynon Valley
o Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham
o Shavanah Taj, Wales TUC Acting Gen Sec
o Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT Gen Sec
o Imran Khan QC, Human Rights lawyer
o Dr Adam Elliot Cooper, BLM UK

January 2021: First round of funding

UKBLM announces that more than £100,000 will be released in January to black-led organisations across country. Read the coverage in The Guardian.

November 2020: Britain is Not Innocent

Britain is Not Innocent – A Netpol report on the policing of Black Lives Matter protests in Britain’s towns and cities in 2020.
UKBLM’s Adam Elliott-Cooper published this report on the policing of the summer protests – one of the key findings is that the policing of the protests was institutionally racist. You can read the report on the NetPol website.

November 2020: 1Xtra Talks

What Issues Do You Face If You’re Young, Black and British?
A panel of black artists, influencers and activists, including BLMUK’s Joshua Virasami, discuss issues facing young, Black, Britons today. You can listen back to the show on the 1xtra website.

October 2020: How To Change It

How To Change It Make a Difference. #2 in the Series: Merky How To series. UKBLM’s Joshua Virasami sets out several lessons for successful campaigning, drawing on the experience and actions of a number of activist and political movements. You can check out the book here.

October 2020: BLM UK gains legal status

Registration as a Community Benefit Society enables UKBLM to access donations of £1.2m and invite people to join.

September 2020: Protest Against Police Racism and Violence

UKBLM partner with Tottenham Rights, The Monitoring Group and 4Front Project to organise a rally outside Scotland Yard to protest police brutality and racism