Black Lives Matter 2

Covid Inquiry

Black Lives Matters. A talk at Aberdeen Trade Union 28-11-2020  by Bertha Yakubu

Good afternoon everyone.

My name is Bertha Yakubu. Thank you for inviting me to this meeting. I am the founder of African Women’s Group Scotland 1994. Part of the objective of the group is to give a face and a voice to African Women who have been Scotland since 16th century (ref). How do we know that? We know this because the women kept running away and their owners’ kept putting adverts in the local paper if anyone had seen them. They fact that they ran away, life was not easy for them.

Black lives and bodies have borne the brunt of inhumanity of man to man. Africans have been shipped off to distant lands by oceans and deserts, beaten, tortured, killed and their land exploited and their wealth carted away and yet still faces so much hate. Why?

Why is it so difficult to grant dark skin people humanity, decency, and equality? Every one of us must to answer the question.

Since the death of George Floyd, I keep asking myself, what did we do wrong to warrant this treatment? As an African person, to say I was angry was under statement and then our children just went ballistics, they would not eat; they cried and cried from young ones to adults. Asking why someone is killed in such manner. There was sense of anger, helplessness fear and trauma.

Why the fear?

Fear is sign of of is a betrayal of trust, you keep asking yourself can I trust the people around me, my white friends, my neighbours or co-workers.  I think for the children they feel betrayed they have been taught that all human being are the same and with such cruelty, it is like they have been lied to. How do my teachers, my friends at school see me? Can I trust them am I save with them? The questions are endless.

What brought comfort and a little relief is the way good decent people in the world reacted and protested against such inhumanity there was public consciousness that make us cautiously trust people again and believe against humanity. Thank you for doing that.

When someone wants to hurt you the first thing they do is to strip away your humanity, make you seem different and that difference gives them reason to do what they do. The abuse, the cruelty, the killings and we must be aware of people that hate and sew the seed of division in order to do evil.

Even now there some backlash against black issues, some people feel let things go back to normal. My fear is that things will go back to normal but we should not allow things to go back how things use to be. No, things should not go back to normal. I never want to see such cruelty again it agonising for those feeling it and those watching it. We should never normalise this. Accepting this will mean we have lost our humanity and we must not lose that.

Black people are not asking for special favour but a chance just like everybody else to thrive in body soul and spirit. To live and not just exist, to live without fear or denigration. Are we asking too much?

What I want to leave with you today is as you go back to work I want you to ask yourself,  do you see me in your work place, in your neighbourhood, clubs, board room, management, internship, mentorship do you hear me say “I can breathe, I can thrive etc?  If you see and hear me then you will reach out for me. Please reach out.

The first African women were brought here 16th century they were invisible, faceless, voiceless because there were those who think, their lives did not matter, their voice did not matter, their story did not matter. Please don’t let this happen again. May we never lose our humanity? Black lives matter and every life matters. We just don’t want to be tolerated or just exist but we want to live and thrive.

May we never lose our humanity again