In the same week that the mistreatment of 21 year-old Julian Cole at the hands of the police came to light, the Ferguson Solidarity Tour came to the UK, stopping off in Manchester on Thursday 29 January.
Manchester showed that black lives – like that of Julian who has been left in a vegetative state after his neck was broken when six police men took him down outside a club in Bedford in 2013 – do matter by coming out in droves to listen to speeches from those affected by police brutality.
After a successful turn-out at the University of Manchester, part two of the visit took place at the Amani Centre on Moss Lane, Hulme.
A room packed full of people young and old, from all walks of life, laughed and cheered as they watched footage of youths from the Hideaway project exercising their rights when they were accused of anti-social behaviour by the police whilst trying to enjoy the Christmas lights switch-on.
They then listened intently to passionate speeches from Janet Alder and Carol Duggan who told the stories of Christopher Alder, who was killed in police custody in 1998, and Mark Duggan, who was fatally shot by the police in 2011, bringing home the shocking truth of the UK’s police system.
Compassionate and heartfelt speeches were the theme of the night as co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter Patrisse Cullors – who was a last-minute stand-in for Revend Sekou after he suffered a heart attack just before the tour began – then took to the mic.
The unity between the US and UK was clearer than ever as people stood up for their hopes and beliefs that there can and will be an end to unlawful killings at the hands of the police.
TNT Siobhan White