The Royal Borough of Greenwich has loudly proclaimed that Black Lives Matter.
Following the example of streets in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC (where the mural has appeared on the road leading to the White House), London now has a street emblazoned with the obvious, yet profound truth: that Black Lives Matter. The Royal Borough of Greenwich has painted the statement in huge letters across the centre of General Gordon Square in Woolwich, where it now lies as a powerful reminder of the fight to end racism and counter inequality.
The letters stretch across the square from west to east, on the pathway between Thomas Street and General Gordon Place. Though it’s a crucial statement for London as a whole, it’s equally vital for Greenwich, a borough in which one in five people are from black backgrounds. The borough has been more proactive in addressing systemic racism and ingrained inequalities than most, having worked with racial equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust to identify and address prejudice and discrimination in the area.
Unveiling the mural alongside borough faith leaders and cabinet members was Greenwich Council Leader Danny Thorpe, who said “Our borough’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. But it is clear that the fight for equality is far from won, and we need to be honest about the inequalities that still exist within our communities.” Promising to “strongly reaffirm our commitment to eradicating racism and discrimination in our society”, Thorpe revealed that the borough will be starting a consultation on a new Royal Greenwich Equality and Equity Charter “to create a borough-wide commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The mural and the charter are an excellent start on this, and a strong show of support from a borough that’s not been afraid to make statements for equality and inclusion in years past. Last year, they unveiled a series of rainbow crossings to support Pride in London, which have returned in even greater numbers for this year’s celebration. Head down to Woolwich to check out the Black Lives Matter mural, and don’t forget, if you’d like to get more involved in anti-racism efforts, we’ve gathered up some suggestions about where to start here.
Also published on Medium.