George Floyd must not become just another name associated with police brutality. His shocking death has shone a light on the racism experienced by many black people in the US and beyond and should be the catalyst for change.
Protesters are rightly calling for the basic human rights of black people to be respected, for them to be able go about their daily lives without the threat of police violence, and for all of us to take action to dismantle the structural and institutional practices that entrench racism in our societies.
However, in cities across the US, we have seen law enforcement authorities using excessive force in response to these protests, including against children and members of the media. President Trump has also threatened the deployment of the military to escalate this response while peaceful protesters were tear-gassed and beaten nearby.
I think it is a legitimate concern that British-sold equipment may have been used in these incidents. I am therefore calling on the Government to immediately suspend any exports of riot control equipment to the US, pending a review of whether they are being used in response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
I also believe the next time the Prime Minister speaks to President Trump he must convey to him our abhorrence at his response to these events and that he must also publicly condemn the President’s anti-democratic use of force that is setting a dangerous precedent. The UK government must show that it does not support this type of retaliation.
I stand with black and ethnic minority communities in the US, the UK and across the world in the fight against racism. We must stand together to build a better society. This means seriously tackling the racial injustices that scar it and addressing structural inequalities wherever they are found.