Calendar of Racism and Resistance (14 August – 27 August)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (14 August – 27 August)

News

 

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

11 August: Liberty calls for South Wales police and other forces to stop using facial recognition technology after the Court of Appeal ruled that its use against civil liberties campaigner Ed Bridges breached privacy rights, and broke equalities law as the force had failed properly to investigate whether the software exhibited any race or gender bias. (Guardian, 11 August 2020)

13 August: Northern Ireland’s police chief must resign, say community leaders, as a judicial review is launched into policing of BLM, including the use of the Serious Crime Act to prosecute organisers, and coronavirus restrictions, fines and community resolution notices used against BLM protesters, in contrast to light policing of far-right ‘protect statues’ rallies. The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman and the Northern Ireland Policing Board launch inquiries. (VICE News, 13 August 2020)

13 August: A disciplinary panel finds West Midlands PC Paul Birch guilty of gross misconduct for the discriminatory language he used towards a group of Travellers while investigating a suspected theft at a Worcestershire golf course in September 2017, during which a police dog bit a man, who was hospitalised. The officer is given a final written warning. (BBC News, 14 August 2020)

15 August: An emergency order is issued in the Hague after youth revolts over three nights in the town’s Schilderswijk district, which also spread to the Kanaleneiland neighbourhood of Utrecht. A racist app group, where some local police officers described themselves as ‘the Moroccan annihilators’ had recently been exposed, although official narratives blame pandemic boredom and the heatwave for the ‘riots’. (Enough is Enough, 15 August, Deutsche Welle, 15 August, Netherlands Times, 15 August 2020)

16 August: An investigation into possible police misconduct is launched after a video circulates on German social media showing a Dusseldorf police officer placing a knee on a young man’s neck during an arrest. (Deutsche Welle, 16 August 2020)

16 August: BME Children are almost three times more likely to have a Taser stun gun used on them by police than their white counterparts, new data from Freedom of Information requests show. According to the figures, Taser use by officers against 11- to 17-year-olds of all ethnicities is rising, with 61 percent more children facing them last year than in 2018 – while data from 2020 shows it is continuing to increase steeply. (Guardian, 16 August 2020)

‘Taser’ Photo Credit: Christopher Paul

16 August: Inspector Andrew George, the new interim president of the National Black Police Association, calls for urgent reform of ‘a biased system that views black people as criminals or drug dealers’, arguing that the police’s stop of Labour MP Dawn Butler was rooted in systemic racism that is damaging the legitimacy of policing. (Guardian, 16 August 2020)

16 August: A week after a suspected vigilante attacks a migrant man who had just arrived at a Kent beach in a dinghy from France, asylum seekers in the UK report being beaten by the French police. One man says ‘I have some injuries to my eyes … I’m still suffering from …. the French police are very bad for asylum seekers.’ (Guardian, 16 August, Independent, 19 August 2020)

18 August: Inspector Charles Ehikioya, who was stopped while driving off duty, plans to sue his own force, the Met Police, for racial harassment. The incident happened in May and Ehikioya decided to go public after attempts to resolve his complaint internally failed. (Guardian, 18 August 2020)

18 August: The Crown Prosecution Service tells the family of André Moura, a 30-year-old Portuguese national who died after being CS-sprayed and restrained by ten officers from Greater Manchester Police on 6 July 2018, that no officer will face criminal charges over the death. The news comes a year after the IOPC referred five officers for criminal investigation. (Manchester Evening News, 26 August 2020)

19 August: The justice secretary announces the ‘pausing’ of the early release scheme for short-term prisoners at the end of August, with only 275 of the roughly 4,000 eligible prisoners released, as chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke warns governors, in the event of a resurgence of the virus, not to re-impose the extreme restrictions, amounting to ‘solitary confinement’, which he says created a ‘real risk of psychological decline’ among prisoners. (Guardian, 19 August 2020)

19 August: A police officer is suspended by West Yorkshire Police pending an IOPC investigation after footage emerges of 27-year-old Hassan Ahmed being held down by police officers during an arrest in Halifax, where it can be seen he is struggling to breathe. In the video the arresting officer appears to try to hit him and shouts ‘chill out or I’ll choke you’. A demonstration against police brutality takes place outside the police station. (BBC News, 19 August 2020)

20 August: Two-thirds of minority ethnic Britons believe the police and criminal justice system are biased against them, a new poll by Hope Not Hate finds. Eight out of ten black Britons and eight out of ten Bangladeshi Britons fear ‘police are biased against people from my background and ethnic group’, with 65 percent of all ethnic minorities agreeing. (Guardian, 20 August 2020)

21 August: Two days after two Traveller teenagers sentenced to 13 years for the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper launch appeals against their conviction, attorney-general Suella Braverman refers their sentences, and the 16-year sentence of co-defendant Henry Long, to the Court of Appeal as ‘unduly lenient’. (Guardian, 19 August, Guardian, 21 August 2020)

23 August: As home secretary Priti Patel, says the government is determined ‘to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law’, fines of up to £10,000 for those organising illegal raves in England will come into force ahead of the bank holiday on Monday 31 August, while participants with previous penalties will see the £100 fine double on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200. (Guardian, 22 August, Guardian, 23 August 2020)

25 August: Stop and searches in London rose by forty per cent during lockdown but only one in five stops led to an arrest, fine or caution, figures show. The tactic was used 104,914 times between April and June 2020, equating to more than 1,100 times a day, prompting renewed concerns that the police are using the power excessively and targeting BAME youth. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

25 August: As six more Met police officers are investigated in relation to the circulation of ‘non-official and inappropriate’ photographs of murder victims Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in June, the London director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct says the allegations ‘may point to more serious issues around the organisation culture’ of the Met, which the IOPC will examine. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

25 August: Black community activist Ken Hinds begins a legal challenge against the Met for racial bias after being threatened with arrest under the Serious Crimes Act for his involvement in organising a demonstration planned for 30 August, thereby ‘encouraging offences against health regulations’ – treatment not meted out to white-led demonstration organisers. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

Anti-terrorism

13 August: New powers come into force under counterterrorism and security legislation granting British police at ports of entry new powers to stop, search and arrest passengers on suspicion of involvement in ‘hostile state activity’. (Al Jazeera, 13 August 2020)

 

ANTI-FASCISM AND FAR RIGHT 

13 August: Scottish Loyalists echo the global far Right, spreading racist disinformation and leading a backlash against Black Lives Matter, warns Open Democracy.Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination (SPAD) which describes Protestants as ‘victims’ of Glasgow city council’s ‘discriminatory’ and ‘pro-refugee’ policies, blames the ‘migrant crisis’ for sex crimes. (Open Democracy, 13 August 2020)

13 August: The Portuguese president calls for action after emails from the New Order of Avis – National Resistance are sent to members of SOS Racismo and three MPs telling them to ‘leave the country within 48-hours’ or face measures against them and their families. The same group is believed to behind a KKK-style protest outside the SOS Racismo office in Lisbon. (Portugal Resident, 13 August 2020)

17 August: A new report from Hope not Hate warns that Patriotic Alternative, founded by former BNP member Mark Collett, is mobilising around the slogan ‘White Lives Matter’ in the hope of popularising the slogan on social media. Download the report here. (Hope not Hate, 17 August 2020)

20 August: Steve Bannon, the far-right former Trump adviser, is arrested in the US for conspiracy to commit fraud, accused of siphoning over $1m from the ‘We Build the Wall’ online campaign. (Guardian, 20 August 2020)

23 August: Epping councillor Julian Leppert of the far-right For Britain party attempts to mobilise Epping residents against the housing of asylum seekers in a local former coaching inn, claiming an increase in crime in the area, a claim denied by local police. (Observer,23 August 2020)

23 August: Előd Novák, vice-president of the Our Homeland Movement, is arrested in Budapest after using a ladder to scale Budapest City Hall to tear down the Pride flag. His far-right party states ‘this anti-family symbol has no place on the street, especially on the facade of the capital’s local government.’ (Gay Times, 23 August 2020)

26 August: Following Nigel Farage video posts from coastal towns, far-right activists name hostels to ‘investigate’ and the so-called South East Coastal Defence calls for ‘scum’ migrants to be ‘sent back’. Across the country, asylum seekers placed in emergency accommodation due to the coronavirus pandemic are filmed and harassed, with Britain First targeting hotels in London, Essex and Worcestershire. (Independent, 26 August 2020)

27 August: A far-right suspect and co-founder of the Goyim Party Germany is extradited from the Netherlands to Germany where he faces charges of launching a pro-Nazi website and encouraging antisemitic violence. (Deutsche Welle, 27 August 2020)

 

ASYLUM AND MIGRATION

Asylum and migrant rights

See also Welfare and poverty

 20 August: The Committee of Undocumented Migrants 59 organises a ‘sleepless night’ in Lille to demonstrate and to demand regularisation and the return to France of Mohammed Lakhel, an Algerian expelled in 2019. (France Info, 20 August 2020)

Mohammed Lakel – photo credit philippe lagatie

25 August: Mercy Baguma, a 34-year-old woman from Uganda, is found dead next to her malnourished baby in a flat in Glasgow. She is reported to have been living in extreme poverty after recently losing her job, as her immigration status prevented her from accessing public funds, forcing her to rely on donations from friends and charities. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

Borders and internal controls 

11 August: As the number of people making Channel crossings in small boats increases, the Independent reveals that the government was warned, in an official report by MPs nine months ago, that its own policies were ‘pushing migrants to take more dangerous routes’ across the Channel. (Independent, 11 August 2020)

14 August: A voluntary group, Channel Rescue, raises nearly £10,000 in crowdfunding in a day to patrol the Kent coastline to ensure that migrants arriving in small boats have access to food, water and assistance, and to monitor their treatment by officials. (Kent Online, 14 August 2020)

15 August: The Greek government denies acting illegally after an analysis by the New York Times based on independent evidence finds that at least 1,072 asylum seekers have been secretly expelled since March 2020, sailed to the edge of Greek territorial waters and abandoned. (New York Times, 15 August 2020)

15 August: As the UNHCR says ministers must avoid ‘escalating tensions with inflammatory rhetoric’ and disproportionate responses, Windrush victims are among 100 signatories of a letter to the home secretary warning that her approach to the Channel crossings and branding of migrants as criminal is creating the same set of conditions that led to the Windrush scandal. (Observer, 15 August 2020)

17 August: Eight Fijian-born soldiers who served with the British army in Iraq and Afghanistan seek a judicial review against the Ministry of Defence and Home Office, saying bureaucratic errors have made them illegal immigrants in the UK. (Guardian, 17 August 2020)

18 August: Serbia begins building a wire fence along the border with North Macedonia to stop the movement of people, claiming that the work is part of an agreement with the European Union. The EU agrees that over €100 million was allocated to Serbia in 2015 to manage migration, but denies that this included funds for a wall. (N1, 20 August 2020)

19 August: The body of a young Sudanese man, later named as Abdulfatah Hamdallah, is found on a French beach after he drowned in the English Channel trying to reach the UK. Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action says, ‘We have repeatedly warned Priti Patel it was only a matter of time before her toxic policy to deny safe and legal routes to the UK would cost lives. This death lies firmly at her door.’ More than 150 Sudanese migrants attend his burial in Calais. (Independent, 19 August, Guardian, 24 August 2020)

20 August: One migrant dies attempting to jump over the fence from Morocco into the Spanish territory of Melilla, and six are injured, three of whom are guards. (El Diario, 20 August 2020)

21 August: UNHCR publishes a press release condemning the rising number of illegal pushbacks occurring at the Greek/Turkish border and calls for Greece to launch a proper investigation. (UNHCR, 21 August 2020)

21 August: As analysis shows that over 5,000 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats this year (compared with around 17,000 in Italy, 11,000 in Spain and 8,700 in Greece), a Calais MP blames the death of Abdulfatah Hamdallah on the UK’s insistence that asylum claims be made in the UK despite UK border controls in France. (Guardian,21 August 2020)

Reception and detention

10 August: The lockdown on refugee camps in Greece is extended for the seventh time, to cover the whole month of August, meaning that for six months, thousands of women, men and children have been locked into overcrowded camps with no public health justification. (Covid19 Chronicles, 19 August 2020)

12 August: The Irish Department for Justice closes a direct provision centre for asylum seekers in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, previously slated for ‘disgraceful’ conditions. Asylum-seekers say the traumatic memory of living there will stay with them for a long time. (Hotpress.com, 12 August 2020)

12 August: Eight people detained at the Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande detention centre, Rennes, go on hunger strike to protesting the unhygienic conditions at the centre, that has cockroaches and rats, racist and abusive treatment, and the indefinite nature of their confinement, with the prospect of removal unlikely with borders closed. (Tellerreport, 12 August 2020

14 August: Following a revolt and attempted escape at the Italian Gradisca d’Isonzo detention centre, three Tunisians are charged with injuring a police officer, resisting a public official, aggravated damage and arson. (Web24news, 15 August 2020)

14 August: Greece’s Migration Ministry announces the closure of eight of the 67 hotels hosting refugees in mainland Greece to ease overcrowding on the Aegean Islands, with the remainder closing by the end of the year, as part of its plan to remove 11,000 recognised refugees from the reception system. (Ekathimerini, 17 August 2020)

16 August: Serco was awarded a Covid-19 contact-tracing government contract worth £108m, months after being fined £2.6m and £1m on separate occasions for shortcomings on asylum-seeker accommodation contracts, it is revealed. (Guardian, 16 August 2020)

16 August: At least a dozen refugees from conflict zones including Yemen and Sudan, held in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick since arriving in small boats, go on hunger strike to protest their detention. (Guardian, 16 August 2020)

17 August: Children arriving on boats across the English Channel are being held by Border Force in a migrant ‘processing’ centre since local authorities in Kent ran out of capacity, the Independent reports. Kent County Council has warned for months that it does not have the resources to safely house the rising numbers of unaccompanied minors crossing to Britain, and calls for mandatory participation of local authorities in the national transfer scheme. (Guardian, 17 August, Independent, 18 August 2020)

18 August: The Home Office confirms that Yarl’s Wood is no longer being used as an immigration removal centre but has been temporarily repurposed to house people who have arrived on small boats across the Channel. (Guardian, 18 August 2020)

23 August: Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah Alhabib, 41, is reported to have been found dead on 6 August in a Manchester hotel room where he had been placed by the Home Office after seeking asylum. He had previously fled war-torn Yemen and survived a Channel crossing in a small boat, and according to other residents, lived in fear of being returned. (Guardian, 23 August 2020)

23 August: Sicily’s governor, Nello Musumeci, orders the closure of all migrant hotspots and reception centres by midnight on the following day, if they do not meet Covid-19 safety conditions such as social distancing. However, no alternative arrangements are put in place to process and test those arriving in Italy, over 7,000 since July. (InfoMigrants,24 August 2020)

Deportation

12 August: An asylum seeker at Brook House IRC is injured as officers attempt to put him on a deportation flight hours after he was granted an injunction preventing his removal due to his high risk of suicide. (Guardian, 14 August 2020) 

12, 18 August: The Home Office presses ahead with charter deportations to France and Germany under the Dublin regulation of asylum seekers recently arrived in small boats, despite legal actions amid mounting concern about the safety and legitimacy of carrying out removals at a time when coronavirus rates across Europe are rising. (Guardian, 12 August, Independent, 18 August 2020)

20 August: EU negotiators reject a request for a migration pact by the British government that would allow them to continue returning asylum seekers to other European countries under the Dublin regulation after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December. (Guardian, 20 August 2020)

21 August: A new report from Statewatch, Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU’s push to increase forced removals, reveals the EU’s plans for Frontex to help deport over 50,000 people annually. Read the report here. (Statewatch,21 August 2020)

22 August:  A solidarity demonstration, organised by SOAS Detainee Support and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, is held at the Home Office in London to support the hunger striking refugees detained at Brook House IRC and to protest their imminent deportation. (Metro, 22 August, Morning Star, 23 August 2020)

27 August: As a deportation charter flight of asylum seekers to Spain is cancelled following court action, Home Office officials are forced to apologise for a video claiming that its attempts to remove asylum seekers are thwarted by ‘activist lawyers’, following criticism from the Law Society, the Bar Council and the general secretary of the civil servants’ union the PCS among others. (Guardian,25 August, Guardian, 27 August 2020)

 

RACE RELATIONS AND DISCRIMINATION

12 August: The Namibian government rejects as ‘not acceptable’ an offer by the German government of €10 million in compensation for the mass murder of tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908 by German occupiers. (Guardian, 12 August 2020)

13 August: Following the hardline approach to the policing of BLM in Northern Ireland, the North West Migrant Forum, which organised a protest in Derry says racial equality in Northern Ireland is at ‘crisis point’. (VICE News, 13 August 2020)

14 August:A new report by Hope Not Hate finds that discontent caused by shrinking populations and a visible decline in coastal and post-industrial towns feeds into racism and hostility towards immigration and multiculturalism. Read the report here. (Yorkshire Post, 24 August 2020)

15 August: Documents obtained by the Guardian show that warnings to the government from a SAGE group of behavioural scientists (known as SPI-B) in late July, that local lockdowns in the north of England could fuel racial tensions, were ignored. (Guardian, 15 August 2020)

19 August: Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham council, says racism is on the increase in the town after Oldham was singled out as a Covid hotspot. A tighter lockdown risks fuelling racial tensions as ‘a loud minority in Oldham continued to blame Asians for flouting the guidelines’, he says. (Guardian, 19 August 2020)

19 August: New research shows that BME people over 50 face entrenched inequalities leaving them in the poorest fifth of the population, retiring later, having a lower weekly income and less likely to own their own home than their white counterparts. (Guardian, 19 August 2020)

23 August: The entire board of Islamic Relief Worldwide, Britain’s largest Muslim charity, steps down when it is discovered that a trustee appointed to replace one who had posted antisemitic comments had himself made similarly offensive posts. The charity says a new board will be selected as part of ‘far-reaching governance reforms’. (Guardian, 23 August 2020)
 

HEALTH AND POLICY

See also Race Relations and Discrimination; Housing; Employment

10 August: An inquiry from the Senedd finds that coronavirus has ‘devastated’ the most marginalised communities and revealed Wales’ inequalities, noting that the low-paid, women and BME people were at higher risk. The committee calls for a ‘comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty’, previously rejected by the Welsh Government (BBC News, 10 August 2020)

12 August: The Cardiff-based Romani Cultural and Arts Company (RCAC) says councils must act quickly to support the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community, which has been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, before a second wave begins. The company’s director Isaac Blake lists concerns including that ‘most Roma live in crowded, multiple occupancy dwellings’ leaving them more vulnerable. (BBC News, 12 August 2020)

13August: An analysis of over 46,000 Covid-19 deaths by the Office for National Statistics shows that ‘a small, single-unit increase in people’s exposure to small-particle pollution over the last decade may increase the death rate by up to 6 percent’, which may be an added factor in explaining why people from BME backgrounds suffer more from the virus. (Guardian, 13 August 2020)

13 August: A cross-party inquiry by five former health ministers reports an urgent need for comprehensive health devolution across England to tackle entrenched inequalities, noting the virus’ disproportionate impact on economically disadvantaged and BME people, and those affected by health conditions such as cancer and dementia. (Guardian, 13 August 2020)

14 August: The REACT-2 study conducted by Imperial College and Ipsos MORI on 100,000 adult volunteers between June 20 and July 13, finds Covid-19 antibodies in 17 percent and 12 percent of black and Asian volunteers respectively, compared with 5 per cent of white volunteers. (Euronews, 14 August 2020)

14 August: Labour shadow environment minister Ruth Jones calls for an ‘urgent’ inquiry into the ‘combined impact of air pollution and Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities’. (BBC News, 14 August 2020)

14 August: Documents released by SAGE warn that local interventions in areas with vulnerable or marginalised communities could make people feel stigmatised and lose trust in the government. Dr Zubaida Haque, interim director of the Runnymede Trust and a member of the Independent SAGE group, says the government response is ‘tone deaf’. (Guardian, 14 August 2020)

17August: Over 100,000 people sign up for future coronavirus vaccine trials in the UK as researchers urge over-65s and BME people to volunteer ‘so that the vaccines that are developed work for everyone’. (Independent, 17 August 2020)

21 August: A report by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University shows that the majority of pregnant women who died from coronavirus during the peak of the pandemic were from ethnic minority backgrounds, with the reorganisation of NHS services contributing to poor care and deaths of some women.  (Independent, 21 August 2020)

21 August: A Guardian analysis shows that Serco and Sitel, the companies paid nearly £200 million over three months to track and trace contacts of those testing positive for Covid-19, have reached only just over half of the contacts in the country’s 20 worst-hit areas, reaching only 42 percent of contacts in Bradford and 52 percent in Birmingham and missing over 21,000 potentially infected people in areas including Oldham, Leicester and Manchester. (Guardian, 21 August 2020)

23 August: Police and crisis helplines in Manchester report nearly double the volume of calls for help about mental health during lockdown, leading Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor and council leader Sir Richard Leese to call on the government for a new strategy to tackle outbreaks that factors in mental health and other health risks including those caused by poverty. (Guardian, 23 August 2020)

 

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

14 August: Hundreds of families in temporary accommodation in Custom House and Canning Town leased by Newham council to private contractor Mears, win a 4-year campaign to be taken back under council control, meaning repairs to their ‘unsafe and unhealthy’ homes and rent cuts of up to two-thirds. Mears has also been criticised for its management of asylum accommodation in the north and Scotland. (Guardian, 14 August 2020)

17 August: Appalling housing conditions and crippling rents in Brent, north-west London, one of the UK’s poorest boroughs, turned it into a hotspot of Covid-19 deaths, according to the Brent Poverty Commission, an inquiry that examined links between local inequalities, poverty and the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of Brent’s population is BME, according to a local authority report. (Guardian, 17 August 2020)

18 August: Homeless charity Crisis is to hand out free phones in an initiative recognising that digital connectivity is a key survival need for the homeless, after Covid-19 exacerbated an existing digital deficit faced by many homeless people with the closure of walk-in services including council offices and job centres. (Guardian, 18 August 2020)

18 August: Reports of rough sleeping rose sharply during lockdown, it is revealed, despite claims by government that they helped more than 90 percent of homeless people off the streets at its height. Homeless charity Streetlink says many people were forced onto the streets when they lost jobs as the economy closed down, with foreign nationals on ‘no recourse to public funds’ particularly affected. (Guardian, 18 August 2020)

21 August: Following warnings of an ‘avalanche’ of homelessness which could drive up Covid-19 infection rates, the government extends the ban on housing evictions for rent arrears for a month and increases to six months the notice period to end tenancies. (BBC News, 21 August, Guardian, 20 August, Guardian, 21 August 2020)

23 August: Figures collated by Safer Renting, a charity-run tenancy relations service operating in seven London boroughs, reveal harassment and illegal evictions have almost tripled in parts of London since the March lockdown, while Citizens Advice report a 95 percent increase nationally in people asking for help with illegal evictions, with right-to-rent checks under hostile environment policies driving many migrants into the shadow rental sector where rogue landlords thrive. (Observer, 23 August 2020)

 

EMPLOYMENT

11 August: Young, old and lower-skilled workers bear the brunt of nearly three-quarters of a million job losses between March and July, according to the Office of National Statistics, while the number of people on zero-hours contracts rose by over 150,000 to more than a million over the period. (Guardian, 11 August 2020)

15 August: The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) celebrates the life of Asquith Xavier, on the 54thanniversary of his breaking of the colour bar at Euston station, where black guards and porters were barred until his campaign, backed by the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR, the precursor of the RMT), forced an end to the practice. Xavier started work there on 15 August 1966. (Guardian, 15 August 2020)

16 August: After 292 workers making sandwiches for Marks & Spencer at a Greencore-owned factory in Northampton tested positive for Covid-19, union representatives say many staff cannot afford to self-isolate as they receive only statutory sick pay of £95.85 per week. (Guardian,13 August, Guardian, 16 August 2020) 

18 August: More than 100 staff members at Tate galleries in England go on indefinite strike to protest its plan to cut over 300 jobs. The PCS Union says the job cuts will disproportionately affect low-paid BME workers, and will significantly affect the diversity of the arts sector. (Artnet, 18 August 2020)

18 August: Italy’s amnesty, passed in May to regularise those working ‘off the books’ including undocumented migrants, receives over 207,000 applications. Additionally, 13,000 migrants apply to extend residence permits under the measure, but the drive has not benefitted a huge number of migrants, with most applications coming from Italian citizens. (InfoMigrants, 18 August 2020)

21 August: Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy on Covid-19, says Britain’s demand for cheap food could be fuelling the spread of coronavirus among low-paid workers in cramped conditions, with nearly 1,500 cases linked to food processing plants. (Guardian, 21 August 2020)

23 August: The complaint of a migrant worker threatened with a pistol, tied up, and abandoned in the middle of the mountain, reportedly for recording the conditions and places of work, uncovers a web of exploitation in Galicia, Spain. The Civil Guard is investigating a Galician businessman in connection with the case. (El Diario, 23 August 2020)

23 August: NHS hospitals have spent at least £15 million since 2017 on visa charges to bring in vital staff from abroad, according to data released to Labour, which accuses the government of penalising hospital trusts for its own failure to train enough qualified medical staff. (Guardian,23 August 2020)

26 August: The Health Service Journal learns that Surrey Heartlands clinical commissioning group has commissioned an independent review of its culture, policy and practice, prompted by ‘injustices experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues’ during the pandemic. (HSJ, 26 August 2020)

 

WELFARE AND POVERTY

 13 August: Food insecurity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has been experienced by nearly 8 million people under Covid-19, and one in 10 people have been forced to use food banks, according to the government’s Food Standards Agency. (Guardian, 13 August 2020)

14 August: Sixty children’s and migrants’ rights organisations call on education secretary Gavin Williamson to extend free school meals to pupils from migrant families classed as ‘no recourse to public funds’ to prevent children going hungry when schools reopen. (Guardian, 14 August 2020)

 21 August: The families of low-paid frontline NHS and social care workers who die from coronavirus, many of whom are BME, will lose eligibility for welfare benefits if they receive a pay-out under the government’s Covid-19 compensation scheme, it is revealed, as Labour calls for exemption from capital limits rules as in the Windrush and Grenfell compensation schemes. (Guardian, 21 August 2020)

24 August: Local authorities are quietly scrapping the use of computer algorithms in helping to make decisions on benefit claims and other welfare issues, the Guardian finds, as critics call for more transparency on how such tools are being used in public services. Algorithms have been linked to race, class and gender bias, among other issues, and most systems are implemented without public consultation. (Guardian, 24 August 2020)

  

EDUCATION

16 August: The General Teaching Council for Scotland investigates the fitness to teach of Edward Sutherland, a religious studies teacher at Belmont Academy in Ayr and a convenor of the charity Confederation of Friends of Israel (COFIS), after he allegedly set up a fake account, posed as pro-Palestinian and sent out inflammatory antisemitic tweets. (Daily Record, 16 August 2020)

17 August: Rapper Stormzy donates £500,000 to the Black Heart Foundation to fund 50 educational scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, most but not all of whom are from a BME background. (Guardian, 17 August 2020)

17 August: After protests across the UK and threats of legal action at the algorithmic downgrading of 40 percent of teacher-awarded A-level grades, disproportionately affecting students from disadvantaged areas, the government announces a U-turn, reverting to teachers’ assessed grades. Universities UK says the U-turn will ‘cause challenges at this late stage in the admissions process’. Read the report here.(Guardian, 13 August, Guardian, 13 August, Guardian,17 August 2020)

17 August: BTec students feel ‘forgotten about’ as many still wait for their results. Exam board Pearson admits there has been a delay for some pupils in receiving their qualification. Without results, students are unable to confirm their place at university or to access clearing. (BBC News, 17 August 2020)

17 August: Analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies finds that school closures during lockdown have widened the attainment gap between richer and poorer primary school children. The findings suggest wealthier primary school children spend 75 minutes more on educational activities, have greater access to online lessons and are more likely to have their own study space compared to their poorer counterparts. Read the report here.(BBC News, 17 August 2020)

 24 August: A study by Hasselt University in Belgium finds that children who grow up in greener urban environments, whether in rich or poor areas, have higher IQ scores than those that do not, possibly through lower stress levels, more play and social contact or a quieter environment. Air pollution, known to impair intelligence and child development, was not examined in the study. Professor of environmental epidemiology Tim Nawrot of the university calls for city builders and urban planners to prioritise investment in green spaces ‘to create an optimal environment for children to develop their full potential’. (Guardian, 24 August 2020)

25 August: Kids of Colour and the Northern Police Monitoring Project publish a report warning of the detrimental impact of police offices in schools in Greater Manchester. The report shows the number of school-based police officers (SBPOs) across Greater Manchester is significantly increasing with at least twenty more officers being introduced for the 2020/2021 academic year, without consultation of parents, teachers, young people or the wider community. Read the report here. (No Police in Schools, 25 August 2020)

25 August: Research by the Education Policy Institute finds that even before the pandemic, the gap between poor primary pupils and their wealthier classmates had stopped narrowing and begun widening for the first time in 12 years, due to rising levels of persistent poverty. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

 

CULTURE AND MEDIA

16 August: Following Facebook’s announcement that it was banning conspiracy theories about Jewish people ‘controlling the world’ but would not ban Holocaust denial as hate speech, an investigation by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue finds that Facebook’s algorithm actively promotes Holocaust denial content, and 36 groups with over 360,000 combined followers are dedicated to or host such content. (Observer, 16 August 2020)

16 August: Angry and distressed BBC staff express concerns, ask what is the point of staying with the corporation and seek reassurance on its commitment to improving reporting on race; in a call with senior leadership about the use of the N-word in a BBC Points West report. (Guardian, 16 August 2020)

17 August: 58 historians sign an open letter reproaching the Belgian government for its decision not to include any historians, colonial experts or members from Congo, Rwanda or Burundi in the parliamentary working group investigating the Belgian colonisation of the Congo. (Brussels Times, 17 August 2020)

22 August: The BBC is criticised after releasing a clip from a new series of the sketch show Famalam that invokes stereotypes about Black and Jamaican people including sexual fetishisation of Black male anatomy. (Guardian, 22 August 2020)

24 August: To mark the UNESCO Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, the National Trust shares a thread on Twitter highlighting a series of objects on its sites that have direct and indirect links to slavery and colonialism. The thread receives 4,000 likes, but some members said they did not want ‘lecturing’ and would cancel their membership. (Independent, 24 August 2020)

24 August: Mid Devon District Council issues Tsara Smith with a cease and desist notice after she puts up anti-racism posters on a 150-mile ‘ramble against racism’. Smith redesigns her leaflet after the Council says that while it supports the sentiment, the leaflets are too similar to planning notices. (BBC News, 24 August 2020)

25 August: After the BBC confirms that the songs Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory will be played at the Last Night of the Proms but not sung because of the pandemic, prime minister Boris Johnson says ‘it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture’. (Guardian, 23 August, Guardian, 25 August 2020)

25 August: The British Museum moves a bust of its founder, Sir Hans Sloane, off its pedestal, due to his links to the slave trade, to a cabinet with artefacts that explain his work in the context of the British empire. Director Hartwig Fischer is criticised for ignoring calls to diversify the museum’s curatorial team or to return stolen artefacts such as the Benin Bronzes. (Guardian, 25 August, Guardian, 25 August 2020)

25 August: Delivering the annual James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival, historian and presenter David Olusoga argues that systemic racism in the television industry left him isolated and disempowered, with clinical depression, and has created a ‘lost generation‘ of BME talent. He suggests a new body is needed to hold broadcasters accountable on diversity and inclusion. (Guardian, 25 August 2020)

 

SPORT

11 August: Crowdfunders raise £100,000 to erect a statue of Jack Leslie outside his home ground of Plymouth Argyle. Leslie was selected to play for England in 1925 and then dropped when selectors discovered he was black. (BBC News, 11August 2020)

12 August: The winner of this year’s Fantasy Premier League competition, an online game entered by more than seven million players, is disqualified over racist comments about Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling. (Sky News, 12 August 2020)

 13 August: In a BBC survey of over 500 elite British women athletes, one-fifth of respondents say they have either experienced or witnessed racism within their sport. (BBC Sport, 13 August 2020)

15 August: An Observer special report on racism in cricket reveals that only nine black male cricketers were selected to play county cricket in 2019, compared with 33 in 1995, as young black cricketers reveal regular stereotyping and racist ‘banter’. (Observer,15 August 2020)

19 August: Former Premier League and Senegal footballer Demba Ba calls on football to condemn China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, asking ‘When are we going to see the rest of the world stand up for Muslims?’ (BBC Sport, 19 August 2020)

19 August: Saracens and England player Billy Vanipula explains his decision not to take the knee in the Saracens v Bristol match on 15 August, claiming BLM conflicts with his Christian beliefs and is ‘burning churches and bibles’. Vanipula made homophobic remarks during an episode of The Good, The Bad and The RugbyPodcast. (Guardian, 19 August 2020)

20 August: The Football Association’s new Equality in Football Leadership Code, to address the lack of representation and opportunities for BME candidates, will recommend that Premier League clubs interview every BME applicant for jobs in off-field roles. (INews, 20 August 2020)

 

VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

10 August: The home of Edinburgh author Kevin Williamson is attacked, with a six-foot pole smashing his child’s bedroom window, after he put up a Black Lives Matter poster in the window. (Edinburgh Evening News, 11 August 2020)

17 August: Dorset Police appeal for witnesses following a racially aggravated incident in Boscombe, when a group of three cyclists racially abused a 40-year-old man in his taxi and banged on the roof, causing damage to the vehicle. (Dorset Police, 17 August 2020)

17 August: A poll reveals that nearly three quarters of BME people in Wales have personally experienced racial abuse. (ITV,17 August 2020)

18 August: A 20-year-old man is arrested following a racially aggravated assault outside a pub in Amesbury, Wiltshire. (Salisbury Journal,18 August 2020)

18 August: Racially aggravated graffiti targeting Polish people is found on a wall in Bournemouth. It is later removed. (Bournemouth Echo, 18 August 2020)

18 August: Police have to intervene in demonstrations in Velika Kladusa, Bosnia, when citizens, protesting against the numbers of displaced people in the city and the proposal to build a second reception centre, block the road to stop the transport of migrants and refugees. (Sarajevo Times, 18 August 2020)

19 August: For a third night residents of Velika Kladusa, Bosnia, are checking buses, pulling off passengers believed to be refugees or migrants and sending them back the way they came. Although there is a police presence it is only to prevent violence, not the actions of the vigilantes. (Balkan Insight, 19 August 2020)

20 August: A family is left shaken after an alleged xenophobic attack in a Dublin shopping centre, during which a woman told them to ‘go back to their own country’. (Dublin Live,20 August 2020)

21 August: Three teenagers carry out a ‘brutal’ physical and verbal attack on Pedro Sosa, spokesperson for the Municipal Group of the United Left-Greens in Lorca the City Council, Spain, who defended a Moroccan family from a racist attack. Sosa says the teenagers were stoning the family home and shouting racist insults at them when he intervened. He suffers lacerations to his neck and stomach. (El Diario, 21 August 2020)

21 August: The Covid-19 safety officer at a mosque in Oldham speaks of his concern at the rise in reports of Islamophobia on the streets and on social media following news of high rates of coronavirus in the area. (Manchester Evening News, 21 August 2020)

22 August: Vandals graffiti a wall with Holocaust denial slogans in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France, the site of the France’s largest civilian massacre by Nazis of the second world war, when SS troops herded 642 villagers into barns and a church and set the buildings on fire. (France 24, 22 August 2020)

23 August: A 60-year-old man is arrested following an alleged racially motivated hate crime outside a hotel in Barrow, Cumbria. (BBC News, 23 August 2020)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Aisha Rana-Deshmukh, Laura Wormington, Jessica Pandian, Graeme Atkinson, Joseph Maggs, Kaiisha Kukendra, Sarah Ross and Neal Tank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x