West London Stand Up To Racism joined thousands of others to march through central London on Saturday, 19 March, to mark the UN Day of Action Against Racism. That day is an annual event and was also marked in 42 other countries around the world. In this country, Stand Up To Racism with the support of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and many individual trade unions as well as faith based and social organisations had organised the protest march.
In the previous two years, due to covid pandemic, the day was marked with on-line events but this year marches took place in London, Glasgow and Cardiff. In west London, at the request of West London Stand Up To Racism, the Ealing Town Hall was also lit in purple by the council and a number of councillors had sent messages of support. Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, sent the following message, “Standing against racism of any kind is an act of allyship by anyone. Today West London Stand Up To Racism marks the UN International Anti-Racism Day by joining together with activists and allies. Racism will only be gone from society when we recognise everyone as a fellow human being, equally valuable. Today, you here mark that message and are part of anti-racist action around the world.”
Balwinder Rana, co-convenor of the West London Stand Up To Racism, said, “We are proud to have joined thousands of others to show solidarity with all those who are standing up to the scourge of racism in this country and around the world. This year its even more important for us to protest as this government is pushing some nefarious bills through the parliament such as the Nationality and Borders Bill and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, better known as the ‘more powers to the Police Bill’. If passed without being drastically amended they could have negative impact upon the lives of the ethnic minorities. They would also make it much more difficult for people to protest against any injustices and may criminalise asylum seekers who don’t use the government prescribed routes to enter the country and also affect those who would try to help them.”
He further added. “We have already seen the disproportionate impact of covid pandemic upon the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Also, various surveys have shown persistent race discrimination in employment, housing and even in the national health service. And, despite the denials by Cressida Dick, the sacked Met Commissioner, institutional racism still exists within the police force which has become even more evident from the case of Child ‘Q’ in north London. Therefore, we have a long way to go before we can eradicate racism from our society and thus we need to unite all those who are victims as well as the white anti-racists who are prepared to stand with us in our struggle. We have to take every opportunity to call out racism and support the refugees and asylum seekers regardless where they have come from.”
Last year’s event was held outside the Ealing Town Hall and was attended by Cllr. Peter Mason, leader of the council, a number of councillors as well as by Rupa Huq MP. In August last year, the organisation also commemorated ‘Sankofa’, End of Slavery Day, in the Perivale park which was attended by the mayor of Ealing, Cllr. Munir Ahmed and a number of Ealing councillors