The Washington Post (26.12.2007) outlines Rev Al Sharpton’s year of battle over Civil Rights issues. I was present when Sharpton visited Birmingham’s Afro-Caribbean Millenium Centre a couple of years back when he, like Jesse Jackson earlier this year, had a rallying call to the City’s an nation’s Black population.
Why necessary? Well see the article to see why in the U.S., but the Black population is at risk in the UK too. Mikey Powell’s case is well-publicised since he died while in the hands of the police in Birmingham, yet with no one taking responsibility and no clear reason why he died. A few weeks back the Kuumba Centre in Sandwell were dealing with a case in Ilford, Essex, where a young man with mental health issues had been reportedly beaten up by police. His mother had been roughly pushed out of the room when she complained, knocking her mobile phone to the floor. I don’t know if or where this incident has been reported. I don’t know how many other cases there are. I do know since the David (Rocky) Bennett report precious little progress has been made on dealing appropriately with need in the African Caribbean community in particular,
which has been high profile. Other groups at risk, such as young Asian women, or refugee groups who have witnessed atrocities in genocidal wars across the globe, don’t stand much chance getting health care. Prisons are full up, many it seems are from groups suffering poor mental health. A disproportion, as in the U.S. are from B.M.E. communities.
So Rev Sharpton’s activities are necessary post 1960’s Civil Rights, and he is able to maintain the high profile campaign necessary. In the U.K. it remains under wraps.
As for the Presidential race Sharpton is taking a strategic view and looking to see who supports the cause. To some Obama is eclipsing Sharpton and taking away his role. Sharpton replies unequivocally that this is far from the case when he is personally involved in cases taking to the streets where necessary.