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We Are Perched on a Big Baobab Tree Named George Floyd: A Statement from PCAP

June 2020

We, at the Policy Centre for African Peoples (PCAP), remember George Floyd. In life, he was a giant of 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) known as “Big Floyd”. In death, he is now a giant on whose shoulders we are sitting, a big baobab tree on which we are perched as we resolutely pursue justice, race and gender equality, human rights, dignity and respect.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we acknowledge the complex and varied intersections of racism, imperialism, neo-imperialism, abuse of power, and inhumane self-interest as root causes of the frequent annihilation, degradation, cheapening and disregard of African, black and ethnic minorities’ lives.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we mourn and weep for the barbaric loss of the life of George Floyd, and do the same for the millions of other lives wiped out by systemic discrimination, racism, brutality, oppression and exploitation.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we remember that black lives matter, not only when they are destroyed by white supremacists, but also non-white exploiters, tyrants, and agents of domination and abuse of power.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we cry for the countless Africans who have succumbed to hunger and thirst while attempting to cross the Sahara Desert, or who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to flee from persecution, armed conflicts, enslavement, exploitation or abject poverty.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we strive to dismantle the structural inequalities and discrimination facing black, ethnic minority and disadvantaged people throughout the world.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we tirelessly work to put an end to the disproportionate exclusion of black people from schools, harassment by police and overrepresentation in jails in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and elsewhere.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we seek to uncover and eradicate the reasons for the greater vulnerability to COVID-19 of black and ethnic minority people in the UK, the USA and other parts of the world.

We are perched on this big baobab tree as we pledge to: • Leave no stone unturned in order to realise our vision of a world where racial and gender equality, prosperity, justice and common good stem from better education, leadership and social engagement.

• Deconstruct and combat structural injustices and racism through education.

• Nurture the emergence and development of new African, black and ethnic minority leaders in the UK, the African continent and elsewhere.

• And collaborate with a wide variety of like-minded partners in order to provide practical avenues for social engagement, transformational policies and long-lasting change.

Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell