Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson at the Cunard Building. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

BLOG: ‘I sit here a year later in the biggest political leadership position in our city and feel hope’

Mayor Joanne Anderson reflects on racial inequality on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death, which sparked the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement.

One year ago, the world was shocked, saddened and angry at the death of George Floyd at the hands of Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

For many of us who work in race relations, the tragic incident is not new, many black people have died in the same way. What we did not know back then was the Derek Chauvin would be convicted for his murder, for many others this has not been the case.

Whilst the whole world grieved, myself and some other friends who have been championing race equality for decades, felt this deeply. We felt that we had wasted our lives and careers in pushing for equality, to no avail. We were sad for George Floyd, and his family but also sad for ourselves as well. When one black person suffers in this way, we all suffer.

The last year during the Covid Pandemic has highlighted the many inequalities faced by black people. Outcomes are disproportionate in every area of life, education attainment, health outcomes, housing, employment, political representation, criminal justice – the list goes on, and on.

The collective outrage expressed by people was also not new. The country had been appalled by the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence and more locally the murder of Anthony Walker.

Some changes have taken place during these times that even led to a change in equality legislation.

As a black person it was heart-warming to see people take to the streets to support Black Lives Matter and say enough is enough.

There were many discussions about what to do, about how to be an ally, about how to get it right this time. All helpful, but nothing I hadn’t heard before.

However, I sit here a year later in the biggest political leadership position in our city and feel hope. Hope that things are different and that I can make a difference, by bringing my experience of race equality to the role, to help pave the way for others to follow in my footsteps.

It is already well documented that I want all communities to access opportunities that Liverpool can provide, not matter where you are in Liverpool, or your background.

But, by gaining this position, I am particularly proud of letting women and black people see that they can be a leader and there is a space for them in leadership positions.

#ripgeorgefloyd your life was taken far too prematurely but your death has impacted the world and made positive strides towards dismantling an unjust system.

Liverpool Waterfront