On 1st August Green Councillor Cleo Lake joined the ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ protest march in London and protested outside Number 10 Downing Street, demanding the UK government compensate the people and nations affected by the Trans Atlantic slave trade. Councillor Lake was there with members of the African Queens Project and joined the march from Windrush square in Brixton to Parliament Square in Westminster.
A prominent activist in Bristol, Councillor Lake has been involved with decolonisation campaign Countering Colston, and the Justice for Judah campaign. As Lord Mayor one of Cleo’s first acts was to remove the portrait of slave trader Edward Colston from her office.
The ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ movement is a Caribbean and African diaspora campaign which charges the British Government with historic and contemporary genocide and ecocide and demands holistic repair, land and wealth redistribution beyond just financial payments. The term ‘Maangamizi’ translates to African holocaust. Councillor Lake explained:
“It’s all about education and development. I avoid using terms ‘Slave Trade’ because for us there was no legitimate trade. It was the greatest crime against humanity so we refer to it as the Maangamizi, a term we claim for ourselves as we set upon creating our own identities in our own images.”
Connecting the historic injustice of slavery to current issues, Councillor Lake noted that reparations should be part of resolving the climate emergency at the global level. She said:
“We can’t begin to combat climate change if we allow corporations, often backed by governments, to continue to loot, pillage and destroy African countries and communities. It’s about honouring the memory of those who fought and leading by example to those yet to take up the baton. That period of enslavement fuelled the industrial revolution causing unprecedented carbon damage so the two things go hand in hand and the climate emergency must be addressed on a global stage.”