Churches stand alongside victims of race attacks

 The mother of Joy Gardiner, who died by suffocation while police and immigration officials were trying to deport her back to Jamaica, said on Saturday that she was learning to forgive. Speaking at a service at the Carrs Lane Church centre in Birmingham, organised by the Churches' Commission for Racial Justice, (CCRJ) Myrna Simpson said her faith was bringing her to pray for her daughter's attackers. Another speaker at the service was Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. She .said: "It has been eight years since the death of my son. We now have the Stephen Lawrence Report, yet we cannot be complacent, we must continue the fight for justice." The gathering also heard from families and friends of people who died in State custody; experienced deportation and those who died or were injured in racially motivated attacks. "We have heard too many stories and will hear many more of how people in our community are suffering from the evil of racism. As a community we need to stand in solidarity and represent ourselves to ensure these atrocities cease, said Maxley Hales, chair of the racial attacks monitoring unit in Birmingham. Rev Derek Wehley, from the New Testament Church of God in Handsworth said: " We have a responsibility to walk with our brothers and sisters and support them in their cry for justice." Rev Arlington Trotman (CCRJ secretary) lead the service. He said: "Broken and grieving families of the victims of racism have declared their resolve never to give up the struggle until justice has been done.In order to stop racist murders and preserve the fundamental rights of black and minority ethnic communities CCRJ urges the government to step up its determination to raise public awareness and declare that racism and racist violence will not be tolerated." The service included music led by Handsworth Fellowship choir, songs and meditation, and the symbolic lighting of candles to remember the victims of racism. *Racial Justice Sunday is on 9 September. A resource pack is now available from CCRJ. For more information contact:

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