US civil rights leader for ‘Sunday’ march

Patrisse Cullors.
Patrisse Cullors.

One of the key organisers of protests against recent police killing of young black Americans will be speaking in Derry this weekend at the annual Bloody Sunday march.

Patrisse Cullors co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles three years ago to highlight the vastly disproportionate jailing of African Americans, the violent treatment many were subjected to, and the high incidence of mental illness among those incarcerated.

In November last, she led a 500-strong “Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, Missouri, following a decision not to charge the police officer who had shot and killed local unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

She has since been active on the ground in Missouri, New York, Chicago and elsewhere.

Ms. Cullors describes herself as “a freedom fighter, fashionista and wife of Harriet Tubman.” She holds doctorates in religion and philosophy.

She is travelling to Derry in place of Ferguson Minister, the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, who was hospitalised with exhaustion in Boston last week after intensive months campaigning across the US.

Ms. Cullors will be joined on the platform in Guildhall Square on Sunday by left-wing Dublin TD Clare Daly.

She will also be speaking at the Nerve Centre on Saturday night alongside former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg, under the heading: “No Justice, No Peace! - From Guantanamo Bay to Ferguson USA.”

Other events in the annual Bloody Sunday commemorative programme include a meeting in the Nerve Centre tonight at 7.30 pm on “The Troubles With Austerity”, looking at the way spending cuts and welfare reform will impact on victims of the conflict.

Speakers will include Alan McBride, of the Wave Trauma Centre, whose wife and father-in-law were killed in the IRA’s Shankill bombing, and social policy lecturer at the University of Ulster, Goretti Horgan.

The epic, centuries-long journey of the Roma people from northern India to western Europe will be told in musical form in the Cannes prize-winning film “Lacho Drom” (safe journey) at the Nerve Centre at 7.30 pm on Wednesday.

Described by the Guardian as “dazzling, inspiring, heart-breaking, unique,” the film is likely to change perceptions of the Roma people.

Sunday’s march will leave the Creggan Shops at Central Drive at 2.30 p.m.