Lambeth Liberal Democrats will continue to take action until we have a fair, free and open society.
Equality is one of the constitutional values of our party. Yet in recent weeks we have seen increasingly clearly how we are not a ‘fair, free and open society’. Our BAME neighbours have suffered excessively as a consequence of Covid-19; the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests remind us how change has been too slow in the US and here.
We must put race equality and social justice at the heart of all our campaigns. We must be clear who we stand with. We must each ask ourselves every day what we can do better to bring about change. We must challenge racism whenever we find it: whether it is in the bias of stop and search on our own streets in Lambeth, the policies of the UK Government, or the actions of the President of the United States.
Please read his message from Roderick Lynch on the work of the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality (which he chairs), the inquiry into BAME deaths from Covid-19 and what we need to do as Lib Dems.
Chair, Lambeth Liberal Democrats
10th June 2020
As the Chair of the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Racial Equality I and my executive welcomed the news that the NHS England and Public Health England would be leading on the inquiry into why Black and Ethnic Minority communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The most recent figures show that of the 200 healthcare workers known to have died from the virus, 61% were from a minority ethnic background.
Clearly, we needed to ensure that the internal enquiry was genuine, fair, and transparent, but equally there were countless people waiting for answers. Without these answers, it will be more difficult to address the situation and find solutions to a problem that could well emerge in the future if there is a second outbreak of COVID-19. That is why many across a broad spectrum of political persuasions, campaigners and health professionals raised eyebrows when Sir Trevor Phillips was included as part of the review.
From the onset we at LDCRE called out on the government’s continuing failure to record the ethnicity of Covid-19 patients is risking the lives of both frontline BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) NHS workers and citizens across the UK. We called for comprehensive data to be collected from everyone who suffers from this terrible disease. Lib Dems fully understand the unprecedented pressure on the government, and we know it is doing its best, but the fact is that coronavirus will only be beaten by two things - the NHS and pandemic data.
Some people have hypothesised reasons of deprivation and multi-generational occupancy in BAME communities, and higher incidences of diabetes and hypertension amongst the Black population. However, this is not the whole picture as this is counterbalanced by the fact that older people of Black African descent do not smoke as much, so subsequently have lower rates of respiratory disease, cancer, and coronary disease. The reasons are more complicated, as ethnicity is a complex socio-cultural construct.
But the Public Health Enquiry published on Tuesday told us nothing that many did not know.
This is a situation that involves the joint efforts of all parties and where any political differences need to be put aside in working for the common good.
With the loosening of lockdown rules and more people returning to work, we are concerned about the impact this will have on vulnerable BAME employees, many of whom are represented in the public sector and key worker roles.
We are living in a global crisis that has brought social justice to the forefront of Liberal Democrats to campaign for; the death of George Floyd at the hands of police brutality, the rights of LGBTQ communities, BAME NHS and Adult Social care who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, to the scandal of the high number of deaths in nursing homes.
Lockdown has proved that campaigning for social justice we the Liberal Democrats must reach communities to stand up for their rights and the voices to be heard.
I am from the Windrush generation where my family have suffered the greatest of inequality and have paid the ultimate consequence.
LDCRE wants to hear from you, the party has to engage with the BAME community, such a diverse borough as Lambeth needs to hear from the Lib Dems in greater numbers.
Discover more: LDCRE