“The Annual Procession is an opportunity to express solidarity with the family justice campaigns, many of whom have campaigned for many years and have yet to achieve any semblance of justice.”
Hector Wesley, National Officer of BARAC UK, explains their support for the United Families and Friends Campaign
This Saturday (29th October) sees the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) Annual Remembrance Procession take place in Central London.
The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) was set up in 1997 by families who had lost loved ones at the hands of the state to challenge the injustice in the system. It began as a network of black families campaigning for justice because disproportionate numbers of black people were dying in police custody. It has become a group that supports all families of the victims of custodial deaths at the hands of police officers, prison officers or in medical units.
BARAC as well as several trade unions including UNISON, FBU and UNITE alongside other campaigning organisations have been longstanding supporters of the UFFC. The Annual Procession is an opportunity to express solidarity with the family justice campaigns, many of whom have campaigned for many years and have yet to achieve any semblance of justice.
The UFFC Network includes the families of Leon Patterson, Roger Sylvester, Rocky Bennett, Harry Stanley, Sean Rigg, Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, Azelle Rodney, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Paul Jemmott, Ricky Bishop, Mikey Powell, Jason McPherson, Sarah Campbell, Jimmy Mubenga, Paul Coker, Mark Duggan, Sheku Bayoh, Olaseni Lewis, James Herbert, Kingsley Burrell, Thomas Orchard, Amy El-Keria, Darren Neville, Jason McDonald, Philmore Mills, Mzee Mohammed, Adrian McDonald, Rashan Charles, Edson da Costa, Mark Cole, Chris Kaba and many others.
The ordeal these families have gone through is invariably traumatic. I have for a long time been inspired by Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder. Here is an extract from an interview she gave in 2015:
“In 2000, we thought we gave Christopher a really good sending off. Other families came that had suffered same injustices as myself, and the Army came played the Last Post [Christopher Alder was a former British Army paratrooper who had served in the Falklands War and was decorated for his service with the Army in Northern Ireland.]. His friends came. And we thought that we tried to give him the respect that the system failed to give him. Only to find out in 2011 that we’d buried a 77-year-old woman. That’s the extent the police have gone to terrorise my family. They’d swapped his body with a 77-year-old woman, they’d sent to the hotel a bunch of red roses, anonymously, and there wasn’t a police officer in sight that day when that funeral procession went through Hull.”
- Hector Wesley is the National Officer of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK), you can follow the campaign on twitter and join the Facebook group here.
- The United Family & Friends Campaign (UFFC) annual remembrance procession and protest will be held on 29th October 2022 – assemble at 12pm at Trafalgar Square for a march to Downing Street at 1pm. More info here.