all credits: Kirklees Unity
It is 30 years in April since special needs teacher Blair Peach was killed by a still-unidentified police officer while on a demonstration against the far right National Front at Southall in west London.
The East London Advertiser reported last year that his friends had a plaque erected to him at the Phoenix school at Bow in the East End where he taught for all of the 10 years he was in London after arriving from his native New Zealand. He lived in Hackney and was a committed community activist devoting his spare time to causes including picketing of a pub at Mile End which had refused to serve black people, which was where I met him in 1974.
His friends want to remember his death and I am appealing for people who knew him or were at Southall on the day of his death in April, 1979, to contact Friends of Blair Peach.
His death is relevant today for a number of reasons. The coroner’s decision of ‘death by misadventure’ is important for anyone who takes part in a peaceful demonstration—things that we take for granted in Britain.
But as the law stands, a person can die at the hands of the police and it is their own fault for being where they were. We are also faced with the threat of the BNP taking seats in the EU Parliament in June.
This anniversary should be a reminder that we still confront the same threat from organised racism and fascism for which Blair lost his life opposing.
Friends of Blair Peach