HACKNEY Mayor Philip Glanville and Hackney Labour Group of Councillors have issued a public statement regarding the recent Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard and Police:
“AS Hackney’s Labour councillors and Mayor, like many, we were appalled at the scenes at the vigil in Clapham that marked the murder of Sarah Everard. We echo the Mayor of London’s words, that the actions of the police toward peaceful women on Saturday was unacceptable. We hope the investigation into an event that started as a peaceful gathering will shed more light on the details of exactly what happened.
Sarah’s family and friends have said that she would not have wanted her death to be politicised. She has become a symbol of how being a woman is a political act – navigating and experiencing the public sphere for women is not the same as for men.
Harassment, violence, online abuse, microaggressions and misogyny, are an everyday feature of life for women and have become unremarkable. Many women are also not safe at home, suffering domestic abuse at the hands of a partner or family member.
The reaction to Sarah’s death was visceral and touched many women and men. Unfortunately, there are many more women who are killed and whose lives are not marked publicly, and their disappearance taken seriously. For example, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, two Black women who went missing after a party. The police did not search for them – their families had to find their bodies.
The media made a cursory attempt at reporting the tragic murders of these two young women who, like Sarah, were simply guilty of being women living their lives.
As Hackney’s Labour councillors and Mayor, we support the Mayor of London’s comments in calling for an independent review. But we want to go further:
- The review must take into account not just what happened at the vigil on Saturday, 13 March, but why, despite Black Lives Matters and other peaceful protests in the capital, we are still seeing failures by the police to deliver for the communities they seek to protect.
- This is not just about protest. It is about how our communities are policed, day in, day out. We seek to engage with the Metropolitan Police to shape more effective policing of our communities, that is able to instil confidence and ensure that our residents are kept both safe and free. We, as elected councillors, are close to our communities and can facilitate the kind of engagement that is required to ensure our residents are heard and their concerns addressed.
- We support calls by Stella Creasy MP, Trade Unions, charities, the Mayor and Labour Women councillors to make misogyny a hate crime. We pledge to sign up to White Ribbon’s accreditation programme and encourage other organisations in Hackney to do the same.
- We further call on the Government to provide greater clarity on the protections women will enjoy as a result of any legislation. Public space is for people, and not statues; we should protect people – no woman should be forced to limit her freedom because of the actions of men.
- In their response, the police need to value all women equally, with respect for their lives.
16 March 2021