Black Lives Always Matter

A statement from Hackney CVS, June 2020

Like you, we were devastated by the news of yet another black person killed at the hands of the police. We have also been saddened by the disproportionate number of black and ethnic minority people who have died as a result of COVID 19.

We feel angry that racism is still alive in modern Britain today because it shows our collective value system is broken. Society simply doesn’t value black lives. This plays out at its starkest in police brutality and the disproportionate number of young black people going through a criminal justice system that focuses more on incarceration than prevention and real community empowerment.

On a different but equally important level, we should also look at the structural racism inherent in all our public services including: in our schools, our health services, our prisons and police force as well as in our cultural institutions, work places and broader media – learning from history to truly understand the black experience of centuries of oppression. We say: enough is enough and now is time for change – but we have to do this together. Addressing racism in society is everyone’s business.

We will continue to make a difference by not only talking about why Black Lives Matter but also preventing and tackling the impact of racism. We will work together with black people/communities to address structural inequalities and empower them to speak truth to those in power. It also means seeking investment for programmes which support the development of black communities, supporting black led community organisations and the black VCS workforce, and, most of all, creating space for people of all backgrounds to discuss and co-produce strategies which create equality and equity at all levels.

We are so proud of the thousands of people, particularly younger people from Hackney, who have made their voices heard. People from our Account and Politically Black youth groups have attended BLM demonstrations locally and nationally. They have spoken at rallies here in the borough, gathered research about historical racism and produced articles and podcasts, inspired by what is happening both in the States and in this country.

Many of you will be aware of the tragic death of Rashan Charles in 2017 but others have died through police contact in Hackney historically. Read here how we facilitated conversations and amplified young people’s voices following his untimely tragic death. The names Colin Roach, Tunay Hasan and Vandana Patel may be less familiar to you but their deaths at the hands of the police will resonate with African-Caribbean, Turkish and South Asian communities here.

The charity sector is also part of the problem with many reports recently highlighting the inequality and lack of diversity in charities senior leadership. Read the CharitySoWhite and ACEVO reports.

To combat this inequality we are going to host a series of themed conversations about race over the coming months. We want YOUR IDEAS and insights in order to build a useful programme. We want to look at the key local impacts of racism and to discuss and agree ways that the voluntary & community and public sectors can work together to eradicate racism in the borough for good. We know this is a significant ambition, and some would say unrealistic, but we think now is the time to galvanise action.

If you are interested in taking part and sharing your ideas for topics to discuss then please email

Topics could cover things like:

  • The need for community healing
  • Addressing structural racism in Hackney
  • The history of black communities and the police in Hackney
  • Black People and charities – what needs to change locally to empower black communities more?
  • Anti-Black racism and colourism
  • ‘I’m not BAME!’ – discussions on definitions and the power of self-definition
  • Maximising the ‘Black Pound’ in Hackney.

Go back to the Black Lives Matter index page.