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Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives share thoughts on landmark Derek Chauvin case in USA




Members from Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives have shared their views on the landmark case of Derek Chauvin, who this week was convicted of the murder of George Floyd in May last year.

The case, in which ex-police officer Mr Chauvin knelt on Mr Floyd's neck for over nine minutes, has caught worldwide attention, sparking mass protests against racism and police brutality in the US and elsewhere.

Leading figures from Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives, which advocates for black lives and acts as a platform to promote anti-racism in Bury St Edmunds and beyond, have shared their thoughts on Derek Chauvin's conviction, the first of its kind in the US.

Members of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives: Afrika Green, Evelyn Polk, Laura Davis, Tamika Green, Arisha Tagoe-Jaquez, Stephen Higgins. Picture: Evelyn Polk.
Members of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives: Afrika Green, Evelyn Polk, Laura Davis, Tamika Green, Arisha Tagoe-Jaquez, Stephen Higgins. Picture: Evelyn Polk.

Evelyn Polk, founder and treasurer, said the verdict was what the group wanted to see, but there was still much to do.

"It’s a small step in the right direction but the real justice will be when black people feel safe and have the knowledge that they will be treated equally in our society," she said.

"There’s still so much more to do before we get there."

George Floyd died on May 25 last year. Picture: Kelly Rowland.
George Floyd died on May 25 last year. Picture: Kelly Rowland.

The George Floyd case proved a tipping point for many people across the globe who still feel racism is built into society.

Stephen Higgins, chair of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives, said the fact the Derek Chauvin case received so much attention showed how much was still needing to be done.

"The fact people of all backgrounds from across the globe were on the edge of their seat wondering about the verdict, in a case where the murder has been caught on tape in HD, shows how far there is to go when it comes to holding the police to account," he said.

"The UK by the way is no shining example."

Evelyn Polk, founder and treasurer of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives said there was still much to do to achieve social justice for black people. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.
Evelyn Polk, founder and treasurer of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives said there was still much to do to achieve social justice for black people. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.

Arisha Tagoe-Jacqez, a contributor to Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives, echoed Stephen's thoughts.

She said: "Absolutely this is a great step forward in getting justice but it’s simply a step in a monumental journey to the world becoming anti racist and racial equality becoming a normal way of life.

She added: "The verdict is just in this case but there’s many others that need to be held accountable and so many black lives that have been stolen.

The Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives event last June. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.
The Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives event last June. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.

"But we do what we do in the hopes that someday our children/youth won’t need to form groups like ours.

"We’re doing the work needed now so they won’t have to."

Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives held an event last June following the murder of George Floyd in the US. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.
Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives held an event last June following the murder of George Floyd in the US. Picture: Emma Ratcliffe.

The views shared by members of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives come as West Suffolk College set forward plans to be the first in the UK to teach black history all year round.

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