Tef Poe, the St Louis-based MC and organiser at the forefront of the protests in Missouri, visited Britain this week to raise awareness of the issues of police violence and racism at the heart of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
On Tuesday this week Tef met with representatives from the Ferguson Solidarity Tour, including Marcia Rigg, co-chair of the United Families & Friends Campaign, and Aji & Conrad Lewis, parents of Seni Lewis, who died aged 23 at police hands in September 2010.
Tef’s organisation Hands Up United has been deeply involved in the demonstrations in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown. He described how the protest movement arose there and spread across the US.
Tef spoke of the chronic racism of the police in Ferguson and the continuing repression of black people in the area – including the disturbing case of Kimberlee Randle-King, found dead in a St Louis County police cell last September.
He listened to testimony from Marcia, Aji and Conrad about deaths in police custody in the UK. “This is not a local issue, or a national issue – it’s a global system of repression we’re fighting,” Tef said. “We need to draw on each other for solidarity – but also come up with a common strategy.”