Free Word: A Kinder Justice


Time and time again we have witnessed police authorities abusing their power and failing to provide justice, particularly in the targeting of Black people who are disproportionately affected by practices like stop and search.

Campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE and organisations The George Padmore Institute and INQUEST were asked to present forewords sharing their insight on this, and look into kinder alternatives relying on community, care and support.

Writer and poets Brother Portrait and Belinda Zhawi were commissioned to produce new work exploring a kinder justice. Listen below for the audio version, followed by links to the text form.

Finally charity APPEAL wrote a statement and commissioned two poets to share their pieces reflecting their experience of the incarceration system, as an individual within it and from the perspective of having a mother who is in prison for life.

Brother Portrait’s and Belinda Zhawi’s both timely pieces in the context of historical and contemporary injustice is a reminder of the ongoing manifestations of structural racism as reflected in the wake of the Murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. The poems are powerful anecdotes in the backlash and doubling up of the justification of white privilege and that racism is simply an imagination of black people as a form of victimhood and madness. The artist’s activist role is even more critical to decode and to create vivid stories and context through the spoken word of our lived experiences from dehumanisation, acts of kindness and solidarity so we can all fight another day.

— Patrick Vernon OBE social commentator, campaigner and co-author of 100 Great Black Britons

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