Mayor Joe Anderson has written to his counterpart in Liverpool’s US sister city Birmingham in Alabama, expressing solidarity for protests over the death of George Floyd.
Liverpool lit up its civic buildings in purple earlier this week, and a virtual vigil is being held this Saturday, 6 June where people are being asked to post photographs of themselves on social media at 4pm, taking the knee, using the hashtag #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd or #itcouldhavebeenoneofmine.
In his letter to Mayor Randall Woodfin, Joe Anderson writes:
“As a Sister City of Birmingham, I want to express our city’s solidarity with you and your residents at this difficult time of anger, confusion, exasperation and conflict.
“When I last visited your city, I was moved by the city’s affection and hospitality. I was moved by the spirit and positivity of people who live there and I was also moved by the city’s history and its struggles.
“The search for freedom and civil rights in South Africa was the reason for my political awakening and I remain passionate about these issues and any fight for justice. Visiting the 16th Street Baptist Church and Martin Luther King’s birthplace in Atlanta still remain with me as powerful reminders of the hate that can exist in people’s hearts and the love that can be called upon to fight against it.”
He adds: “Liverpool has had its own challenges in achieving justice over the years, which is why we innately understand the burning desire to take action, protest, and ‘make it right’.
“We also know that it can take far, far, too long to achieve justice, and that it won’t be easy. But also that it can be done.
“We are not perfect in our own country and this city, and the situation in the US is a reminder to us that we also have much to improve – I will make that pledge to myself to ‘be better’ as a leader in the search for greater equality.”
He concludes: “I wish you all the strength you need to lead, both over the coming days and as you build a relationship between, and with, your communities after.”
He also attached a letter from the 10 UK Core Cities, including Liverpool, sent to the African American Mayors Association expressing concern over the direction President Donald Trump is taking the United States in and thanking them for the stand they have taken.