Peaceful vigil to support Black Lives Matter movement planned for Sunderland

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are to gather in Sunderland city centre as they take the knee.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 7:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 9:42 am

Sunderland Unites will lead the event in Keel Square on Thursday, June 25.

The event follows others around the country following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who was killed as he was held down by a police officer.

Starting at 6pm, the vigil will see people take the knee, a gesture which has become symbolic of the movement.

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The Black Lives Matter vigil will be held in Keel Square in Sunderland.

It will feature a minute’s silence in remembrance of James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, who died in a knife attack in a Reading park on Saturday, which is being classed as an act of terrorism.

Short speeches will be heard, touching on Sunderland’s own Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

Organisers say everyone taking part must wear a mask and keep two metres apart from others, distances will be marked out on the ground.

A Sunderland Unites spokesperson said: “This Black Lives Matters peaceful vigil will be held in solidarity with the movement across the world.

“Anyone is welcome to come, but they must follow the safety measures, wear a mask and stick to the to metres distance rules.

“We want this to be a safe place for people to come and express their support and we hope in the post-pandemic world for a more equal world.”

Sunderland Unites was set up in March 2018 after members said they had seen an increase in “far-right and racist activity in the city.”

Its page says: “SU believe that people should be able to live free from negative discrimination, harassment and abuse.

“We therefore oppose the targeting of particular groups and individuals by those who seek to spread hatred and division.

“We are clear that the far-right has nothing to offer our city and will mobilise so that they do not achieve their aims.

“We will work with others to build communities and bring people together in solidarity so that the diversity of our city is promoted and celebrated, whilst working to ensure that the far-right does not grow and prosper in any part of the City of Sunderland.”

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