Press Release: Statement from 1990 Trust and Operation Black Vote

Today's decision by Lee Jasper to ask for the police to investigate accusations of corruption and impropriety is a measure of the confidence he feels of his innocence in any illegal activities or financial wrongdoing. We support his decision and stand Full Square behind him. He is right to face down the criticism and confront the political and racial attacks which from the start marked the Evening Standard and Gilligan campaign.

This political and racially motivated attack by the Evening Standard on Lee Jasper and Black organisations is having a devastating effect on London's Black community and grass roots organisations.

The Evening Standard's unsubstantiated allegations about Black groups and individuals make funders even more cautious about financially supporting BME organisations. Very few dare speak out because of the Evening Standard's power to demonise them in their paper. Key figures in the Black community have already been subject to this treatment include Doreen Lawrence, Rev Nims Obunge, Micheal Eboda of Ethnic Media Group, and the Guardian's writer Hugh Muir.

Further to the allegations there has been the suggestion that Lee somehow acted improperly in his work for personal financial gain. This is indeed a serious and very damaging charge and it is precisely why Lee has asked for it to be investigated by the police. In his words to his accusers: 'put up or shut up'.

In our view we have a dearth of Black leadership who are prepared to put their heads above the parapet (and who can blame them). We need the Jaspers of the equality movement working at the front line or else race equality work would be mired in a whirlpool of process that seeks to 'move beyond race' to the nonsense of 'multiple identities' and 'cohesion'.

We are proud to support Lee as a staunch advocate for Black communities; a man of integrity and honesty, and a champion for our community organisations.

We call on all organisations that we have worked with in the past to see this for what it is - an attack on all Black organisations and leaders - and offer support to Lee and those affected.

Lee has been unfairly targeted by the Evening Standard, which has used spin and false accusations to impugn his reputation. We support his decision to step down while all issues are investigated. We expect that he will be exonerated, but respect his decision. We will not be distracted from our goal of empowering Black communities in London and maintaining its world wide reputation as a diverse, inclusive city.

4000
3000