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tv   Monumental  BBC News  July 18, 2020 1:30pm-2:01pm BST

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an officer for london's metropolitan police has been suspended, and another placed on restricted duties, after a video appeared to show one of them kneeling on man's neck. local authorities in england can use new powers from today to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in their area, with the ability to shut down specific premises, close off outdoor areas and cancel events. eu leaders are meeting for the second day of their brussels summit with only faint hope of reaching an agreement on a coronavirus economic recovery package. the indian film star, aishwarya rai bachchan, and her daughter havejoined other family members in a mumbai hospital, where they are all being treated for covid—19. the uk government guarantees financial support for holiday makers seeking refunds for trips that that were cancelled because of coronavirus. now on bbc news, will the toppling of the statue of a slave trader in bristol
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change the lives of black people in the city? musician and activist ngaio anyia explores inequality in her home city. antiracism protesters in england have pulled down... a 17th century slave owner was taken down. edward colston. the british slave trader stands no more. what would have been an act of vandalism on any other day felt like an expression of pure joy. it has left me with one big question. will this change anything? bristol presents a fantastic story to the outside world, but it is also true that people like me are born destined to die earlier, to get sick earlier, to get a poorer education and end up in mental health institutions or end up injail.
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i am a ngaio anyia, musician, activist and bristolian. i love my city, so now the spotlight is on us. can we get it right? my story with the man on the plinth starts 15 years ago when i was at colston‘s girls‘ school. once a year, there would be a big commemoration service where we would give thanks to him. what they didn't tell us was that edward colston made a large chunk of his fortune through the trade of enslaved africans. colston‘s ships transported an estimated 84,000 slaves.
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as many as 19,000 died en route and were thrown overboard. but much of bristol's wealth was built on the money from that trade. and colston‘s name is everywhere. finding that out changed everything for me. i didn't want to give thanks to a slave trader, so i refused to go to the service. and i was given detention. the school didn't want to discuss it, and that was the end of it. i'm meeting cleo lake who also went to colston‘s girls school a few years ahead of me. as a city councillor, she had portraits of colston removed from city hall. and her campaign persuaded several key institutions to drop the name. so how did you feel when you saw
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the statue come down? we had a message, "there's been incidence." i was like, "well, what happened?" "cleo, the statue's coming down." and ijustjumped on my feet. i was just so happy, cheering, and, yeah, i couldn't hold back my instant reaction, really, because it's been so many years, not even in the last five or ten since i have been at school. i wasjust so, so happy. you know, we have tried to do things through the right channels, if you like. petitioning, asking at council, requesting it. and now i am actually happy of the way it was taken out. it was very symbolic and it had to happen, and it shows that demands must be listened to and action, otherwise people will take and do what they need to do it to see the world they want to see. it's amazing that the statue has come down, but will it change anything? yeah. it's important, it has accelerated conversations, of course it has. the removal of statues is key
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because we couldn't be having this discussion without it. we wouldn't have seen the institutional shifts that we're experiencing. whether that's going to be permanent and sustained remains to be seen. i think there's a lot of work to be done in education. bristol is a prosperous city in the west of england with high income and low unemployment. but not if you're black. a mural on jamaica street near the city centre says what many will already suspect. bristol has made waves tackling racism before. in 1963, bus companies refused to employ people of colour. the point is that while we can obtain white labour in this city,
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we intend to go on engaging white labour rather than coloured labour. we don't want them on there, that's the main reason. bristol citizens boycotted the buses, and it led to the race relations act, making racial discrimination illegal across the uk. bristol today is a city divided. young black people are consistently disadvantaged compared to their white peers. it is all in this report. it talks about the unrepresentativeness of the curriculum, the lack of diversity in teaching staff and the poor engagement with parents. aisha thomas is one of a few black teachers in bristol, although a career in education was not her original plan. i decided to go into law because i was really passionate about getting into the legal system and trying to deal with some of the discrimination that i could see there. but at the same time of doing that, i was actually doing some volunteer
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work with the prince's trust, so we were doing bits of pro bono and making sure we could help those in the present system and get back into the real world and into the community. —— prison. i was working on a particular project about young people getting back into education, and there was a particular young men i had developed a really good rapport with and a really good relationship, and one day he said just out of the blue, "perhaps if i was your teacher, i wouldn't be your teacher today." and i was like, "0oh." good morning, class. today's lesson, we're going to be looking at... as a teacher, she was staggered by the lack of diversity amongst staff, so two years ago, she took part in a bbc documentary to shine light on the issue. secondary schools are at 1346 teachers. now, how many of those teachers do you think are black? and so when i said 26, you could hear a pin drop. the silence amongst the room, because nobody realised or even envisaged it was that bad
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and that the representation was so poor. and even though in their own school, the representation was one or two, they had hoped, i guess, that across the city there was much more. so now we're going to look at the university... she is working with the city council to develop a ground—breaking new curriculum, the first of its kind in the country, telling the history of bristolians from all ethnic backgrounds. so the approach that i use is the drip drip method. so i genuinely believe across the curriculum, we do not need to take anything out. it is about what we add in. if you're having a lesson about maths and you can talk about kathleenjohnson and you can take that moment to tell them about her contribution to science and mathematics and how she supported getting a rocket or a spaceship into the sky. you could have that exciting conversation. it took me less than ten seconds to say that to you, but that knowledge is in a child's head. when you look at all sorts of industries, the issue you have
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is you do not see yourself represented, as you begin to question if you are good enough. if my girls at my school could see you, you would light up their faces. they would smile because they would say, "wow, a black female who's actually in that position." i talk about michael all the time, because i said to them if you want to get into media, this is a good example. because we do not offer media as a subject here, so they don't get to see an example, they don't get to see that empowerment. the only hear about historical figures who might have passed away, so it's really important that the living legends, and i call you guys legends because you are doing bits in this time. you are living in this moment and you are creating representation, so when i think about my own children, my nine—year—old and 12—year—old, i can give you as an example. that is powerful. guys, you have worked really hard this lesson. thank you. it is break time. let's go. aisha is a woman on a mission. she is driven by bringing equality and representation into education. there's nothing radical about this. itjust has to happen. i think she's going to succeed.
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i'm back at colston‘s empty plinth, and i'm wondering what can change when you bring down a statue. in new orleans, a campaign called take ‘em down has succeeded in removing five of 17 statues of prominent slave owners. authorities say the protesters damaged the monument... just a few weeks ago, they toppled another one. throwing a statue into the mississippi river. michael is a poet and teacher who has been leading the campaign. one of our symbols was to a guy literallyjust like holston, who financed the school system with all his philanthropy after he had finished enslaving black people his life.
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—— colston. he was a slaver. his name wasjohn mcdonogh. recently his stature was pulled down by the people, just like you did with colston. we were very inspired by you all. so what can bristol learn from new lanes? what is next for us? —— new orleans. take them down. when we say take them down, take them down everywhere. take down the rest of it, and i'm sure bristol has some deep indigenous history, some contributions that african and other groups of people who actually had the empire built on their backs, tell their stories. let them come to the front. people need to start thinking outside of the box when the class is projecting on us. they gave us these little deluded notions of what justice looks like. "0h, we'll put it in a museum." what do you need them in a museum for? how about we lift up the people that have fought for our freedom so that our children can inherit that narrative and we all know how to defend actual real humanity. i'm sure bristol has some stories there.
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statues have also been taken down in belgium. here, the focus is leopold ii. his colonisation of congo brought great wealth to his home land at the cost of an estimated 10 million lives. now his descendants are confronting that legacy, led by his great niece, who is also the aunt of the current king. 0bviously putting down statues is something symbolic, it is something probably emotionally adjust, but we have to go further. this doesn't solve anything. —— just. so one step further is the fact that the king expressed his deep regret. it is not yet apologies, and i really think that the state should apologise, and i want to say that all the european colonisers should apologise, because we might have a particularly brutal and criminal past in belgium, but i think it is shared by all the european powers. so that is important, the apologies. and go through all our institutions
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that are full of dissemination, —— discrimination. like the justice system, the police, well, everything in our society, so if we bring the statues down but nothing else happens, obviously it would be terrible. we have now to be sure we build another society. 0n the day colston‘s statue fell, many were surprised. some even disappointed. disappointed by the lack of police intervention. there were no riot shields or water cannon that you would see in america. the police were nowhere to be seen. we made a very tactical decision that to stop people from doing the act may have caused further disorder, and we decided the safest thing to do in terms of policing tactics were to allow it to take place. andy bennett is a bristol commander
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for avon and somerset police, but his career started 30 years ago with the metropolitan police when they were deemed institutionally racist. what i saw often is policing engaging in communities in a way that didn't consider them as people. i'm not talking about the criminals, i'm talking about the rest of the community. nobody thought about how can we talk to the rest of the community and bring them on side? what we willjust do is be an army of occupation that will move in, deal with the problem and then leave again. tell your guys, tell them what is going on. but bristol has problems of its own. just three years ago in a case of mistaken identity, a police race relations advisor was shot in the face with a taser. i was posted to my current role just shortly after that a taser ring, and i was given a mission to improve
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relationships with the black community in bristol, and that is what i have been doing over the last three years. that was totally unnecessary. andy called an emergency summit, bringing together 80 members of the black community and a0 police officers and just listen. and what we got from that experience was that actually, institutional racism was an issue for that community, and then it highlighted things you would expect. disproportionality in a stop and search, the way white police officers treat members of the black community. criminal justice. why are more black people ending up injail? why are you not recruiting enough people? and so on. and they were not wrong. in bristol, 16% of residents are black, asian or minority ethnic. for the police force which covers the city and surrounding area, it isjust 3.2%. figures for the uk showed that black people are nine times more likely
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to be stopped and searched. one of the scariest things in our city and across the uk is about gangs. gang violence and knives. and i feel like our relationship with the black community has prevented us working collectively to solve this problem. andy's policy of reaching out and being open, making regular appearances on community radio stations, attending mosques, temples and churches, it seems to be working. my message to all communities is you need to meet me in the middle. if you meet me in the middle, then we can really fight crime and all the inequality and all the issues that are really plaguing the black community. so what about stop and search? we know they have been working to get that right. ask our camera operator, michael. have you got stopped and searched? all right, come on, on. do it.
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i got commissioned by the police force himself to make a film about stop and search and how it disproportionately affects black people, black men. and then you got stopped? and i got stopped when i was making it, so we managed to film it, and there was a bit of back and forth about whether it was relevant or not, but i managed, we managed to come to an agreement it was relevant. i felt like that talk there with andy and how the police is trying to move on, i think they are moving in a better direction, and the things i am hearing them saying, it gives me hope for the future, you know? arguably the single biggest step bristol has made towards racial equality came four years ago when the city elected marvin rees, the first black mayor of a major european city. but his journey was not easy. and he uses strong language to describe it. my backstory is my dad came from jamaica as a 12—year—old in the 605. my mother is white english — welsh heritage. before i was born, she shares
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with me that some health professionals were suggesting she has me aborted. white women, unmarried, very little money, had left school at 11; with a brown baby on the way. it was not the thing to do in the 70s, but i grew up in bristol as a racially fractured city. as a mixed race kid in a city in which people drive past you in the city calling you a bleep or a bleep. 0ther worse language than that was normal. it was not strange for it to happen. i grew up also in the middle of the riots in the 1980s. ijust reached my teens, so that sense of physical contest, physical and racial challenge and tension in the city was real. at the same time, my primary care and family is white. my grandparents, my mum, my aunts, so i lived what i call, i lived the life across boundaries, and that has merely informed my sense of belonging and reconciliation i carry with me today.
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—— really. talking about racial equality in bristol, how bad is it? it is a major challenge for the city. bristol presents a fantastic story to the outside world. you know, two world—class universities, thriving creative sector, foodie city, progressive politics, european green capital, aerospace industry and all that stuff is actually true. but it is also true that people that look like me are born destined to die earlier, to get sick earlier, to get a poor education outcome, end up in mental health institutions or end up injail. you cannot have whole reconciled relationships while that background noise is going on. so dealing with those underlying economic and political inequalities is essential. during his time in office, marvin has pushed hard to build more social housing and increase diversity among magistrates. what did it mean to you to see the statue coming down?
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i couldn't quite believe it when i heard there was straps around the statue, and then when i heard it was pulled down, it was one of those "for real?" moments. i've been clear as the mayor of this city, i cannot condone criminal damage, but as someone descended from kidnapped and enslaved and abused african people, and colston and the 80,000 odd africans that would have been part of his empire building, their misery would have contributed to his wealth, i cannot say anything other than the statue is an affront to me and i won't miss it not being given a place of honour in the middle of our city. and what do you think it will mean forfuture generations? we do need to be careful of a symbolic act. symbolic acts can be very, very important, and that was a very important symbolic act. agree with it or disagree with it, it was an incredible visual act of a slaver being pulled down, rolled through the streets and thrown into the harbour that his slave ships once docked.
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so it is symbolic. but symbols without action actually become running sores, and that is in many ways the history of race equality. people saying, we had these symbolic acts, and reports become symbolic if not enacted. ceremonies become symbolic if they do not address underlying underlying inequalities. the danger is we had a very symbolic act that we are not then equipped to deliver with fundamental economic change coming after. a few days after colston was launched into the harbour, the council quietly retrieved it and tucked it out of the way. i'm being allowed in to have a look. cool so creepy. i think i thought he was
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going to be standing up, and to see him like that... it is quite nice to be standing over him. obviously it is just a statue, so it's not going to look like a person, but i have never looked at him before, not when he was in the centre, not ever. i always walked past and always turned my head away, and, yeah, it's quite disturbing to look at him. feels strange. i don't know how to put it into words. all these scratches all over him and graffiti. i feel like you can really see the violence of him now in a way that you don't really see it before. there are now plans to turn it into a museum exhibit, which feels like the right
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thing to me. then everyone can learn the full history of colston, warts and all. and in another sign of change, my old school in response to a request from students is to hold a consultation on changing its name. it makes me feel very proud of my city. it makes me feel like this conversation that i've been trying to have since i was 15 is now actually being hard, and it is not being had by one person, it is not being had by one group or organisation, it is being had by my city, and we made this happen. —— had.
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hello. we have got some big contrasts in the weather across the uk right now. the warmest of the weather this evening will remain across the south—east of the country. temperatures will still hover around the mid 20s. but wales, north of england, you can see overcast satellite image here, and the radar are superimposed, you can see the outbreaks of rain moving through wales into parts of northern england. also scotland and northern ireland, some sunshine here. let us have a look at the picture for the early evening. you might still be out and about, some showers across scotland and across the highlands. decent weather for northern ireland, 16 degrees and nice enough there in the north—east of england. the lake district, lancashire, but wales, north midlands, the peak district, into parts of yorkshire are still cloudy with outbreaks of rain, but in the south—east we have that fine and warm weather around 25
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degrees at six or 7pm. this evening, that weather front, and it is a weather front, will move southwards, and it is going to turn wet in the south, so for the early hours of the morning, we are expecting some rain in places like cardiff, southampton, london, and norwich in for a bit of rain. mild here at 16 degrees. the north of the country overnight with clear skies will turn fairly chilly with temperatures of five, six or 7 degrees. tomorrow is a very different today across wales and north england. look how sunny, clear skies and beautiful weather there for liverpool, hull and newcastle. the south of the country will be cooler and cloudier, probably some spots of rain still affecting the extreme south—east there. in scotland, showers on sunday. beyond sunday, we are expecting the high pressure to build off the atlantic, and that means the weather will start to settle down, so that does mean it is going to be a fine start to the week ahead. light winds, plenty of sunshine, just a bit of a fair weather cloud building up.
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a really pleasant summer's day to come for the start of the week. temperatures around 22 in london, pressure in the north around 17 celsius. —— fresher. the indication is we will keep the fine weather, and look at that in southampton. beautiful conditions through most of the week, but in the north—west of the uk, could be a little more unsettled by the time we get to wednesday. goodbye.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the veteran american civil rights leader and long—serving congressman, john lewis, has died at the age of 80. local authorities in england can use new powers from today to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in their area — with the ability to shut down specific premises, close off outdoor areas and cancel events. eu leaders meet to reach an agreement on a 750 billion euro economic recovery package to repair the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic. the indian film star, aishwarya rai bachchan, and her daughter havejoined other family members in a mumbai hospital,


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