Eradicating structural racism will be a “defining cause” for the next Labour government, Sir Keir Starmer said on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
The Labour leader, along with shadow cabinet ministers David Lammy and Marsha De Cordova, promised to continue campaigning to tackle racial injustice a year on from Mr Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.
Thousands of people in the UK took part in protests prompted by Mr Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer on May 25 last year.
Shadow justice secretary Mr Lammy said: “George Floyd looked like me, he could have been me. That’s why his death reverberated around the world. People said: none of us can breathe when we still face the issues of structural racism in our lives every day.
“That’s why George Floyd’s death sparked a global movement, from Minneapolis to Manchester to Mile End. Black and white people came together to say Black Lives Matter.”
Sir Keir said the coronavirus pandemic had also “brutally exposed” injustices in society.
“On the 25th of May 2020, not only did people see the violence on a street in Minneapolis but they could see the violence and destruction that structural racism was having on black communities in their own societies as a result of the pandemic,” Sir Keir said.
A Labour government would introduce a race equality act because there was a “moral duty” to address inequalities and injustices exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The eradication of structural racism will be a defining cause for the next Labour government,” Sir Keir said.
Ms De Cordova said a Labour administration would introduce a curriculum to give young people “a balanced understanding of Britain’s past and how it has shaped society today”.