The organisers of the Ferguson Solidarity Tour would like to thank all those who supported, attended and participated in public meetings, events and actions since we first began organising the tour in November last year.
Some 20 events took place in the course of ten days, including community and university meetings, a People’s Parliament session at the House of Commons, a lawyers briefing, a gig for Ferguson, direct action to protest against G4S and solidarity visit to Derry for the Bloody Sunday anniversary march. You can see some of the media coverage here.
The tour helped ongoing efforts to expose and challenge police racism and deaths in custody here in the UK. It enabled an important exchange of ideas between the US #BlackLivesMatter campaign and activists in this country, strengthening links between families and others campaigning for justice.
A huge number of people put in a lot of work to make this happen. We are all excited about the prospects for further international collaboration and action that have emerged.
During the tour, a campaign was launched by the family of Julian Cole, a young black man tragically paralysed and left in a vegetative state after police seized him outside a nightclub in Bedfordshire in 2013. The police involved are still on active duty. Julian’s family are calling for their immediate suspension – and for the individual responsible for breaking Julian’s neck to be held to account.
The inquest into the death of Habib “Paps” Ullah during a police search in 2008 took place during the tour. Damon Turner was among those who visited the public gallery to show support. The jury has returned a narrative verdict criticising the police. We urge people to follow the Justice4Paps campaign for more on this case.
We also call on everyone to mobilise for the United Families & Friends Campaign national march on Saturday 31 October, and their national demands, as well as supporting call-outs from family campaigns local to your area.
Activists in the West Midlands are starting up a community project to monitor police activity with the intention of preventing acts of violence. This initiative, led by Birmingham’s black communities, draws on the experience of similar projects in London, Manchester and elsewhere. We hope that links between these groups are developed and maintained, and that more people will get involved.
Red Alert West Midlands is a 24-hour support service for families affected by deaths/abuses in custody, or concerned about relatives or friends detained in custody. It is due to be launched later this year and is appealing for volunteers.
NUS Black Students Campaign and Defend the Right to Protest will be joining the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence and others to organise against Operation Shield, a new scheme by the mayor that will encourage the Metropolitan Police to use collective punishment against “gang members”. It is set to be piloted in Haringey, Lambeth and Westminster. We encourage people to attend the related meeting on stop and search at Parliament on 17 March organised by StopWatch.
Since returning to the US, Patrisse Cullors and Damon Turner have been performing in “Mouths of the Occupied” – giving voice to black people affected by state violence as part of #BlackFuturesMonth. This week they are also out on the streets again protesting the brutal police killing of Africa – Charley Robinet – at point blank range on Skid Row in LA.
Rev Sekou is on the mend and was taking part last week in “Moral Monday” protests: national days of civil disobedience against racist policing and discrimination in the voting system, welfare and employment. Tef Poe also met activists when he visited London for BBC Hard Talk interview.
We are committed to broadening these international links, without losing sight of the issues on our own doorstep, and we hope to be able to organise further initiatives and coordinated actions in the near future. In the meantime, if there are events or actions you are organising or ideas you have please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last but not least – we need to raise £1,000 to cover outstanding costs of the tour. Please help us to continue this work by making a donation. Click here to go to our secure payments page.
Once again, we thank all who have supported and participated in this tour, at home and abroad.
Long may our mutual links of solidarity continue. Black lives matter.
Ferguson Solidarity Tour initiating organisations
Defend the Right to Protest (@righttoprotest) was launched in response to violent police tactics, arrests and prosecutions of students in 2010. DTRTP is organised by arrested protesters, their families and supporters, with help from student unions, trade unions and other campaign groups. It campaigns against tactics and policies that criminalise dissent, organisers practical support for protesters arrested, bailed, facing charges or imprisoned and helps to build practical solidarity with others affected by police violence and abuses. Subscribe to our monthly news here.
NUS Black Students Campaign (@nusBSC) represents students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent, at a local and national level, on all issues affecting black students. The campaign focuses on equality in education, black representation, anti-racism and anti-fascism, as well as international peace and justice.
United Families & Friends Campaign (@UFFCampaign) was set up in 1997 by families who had lost loved ones at the hands of the state, to challenge the injustice in the system. It began as a network of black families because disproportionate numbers of black people were dying in police custody. It has now grown to a group that supports all families of victims of custodial deaths.
Find out more about supporting campaigns involved in the tour.
Follow updates from the movement in the US using links below: