On Friday, 4th September (2020), over 100 people gathered outside the Home Office, Westminster, London. In a happy piece of serendipity, the protest coincided with another protest, increasing our numbers. So what were we protesting?
We were there to demand the release of Osime Brown and to have his deportation from the country stopped. Osime is a Black, Autistic, 21-year-old man, wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. He was convicted under the controversial and now-illegal joint enterprise law here in the UK.
The protest was peaceful, and while attracting a police presence, there was no unrest. Everyone was there in mutual solidarity with Osime’s family. The speeches given were emotionally charged. Listening to the pain that Osime’s mother is experiencing, I and others in the crowd struggled to suppress our tears. Below is a recording of the speeches given by members of Osime’s family.
Even listening back to the video of Osime’s mother, I struggle to understand how anyone who hears it can not be overwhelmed with empathy.
The protest was organised by Autistic Inclusive Meets (AIM), and their CEO, Autistic rights campaigner Emma Dalmayne was there to lead the charge, giving a speech to the crowd.
The air at the protest was electric with defiant outrage at what has happened to Osime. Many parents of autistic children worry about their child making friends, but from where I was standing, Osime had 100+ friends all gathered in his name. The protest was also joined by Nadia Whittome, MP, and a member of Osime’s legal team, both of whom gave speeches to the crowd.
Many who could not attend took part in an online campaign, posting pictures of themselves with the #FreeOsimeBrown slogan.
I hope that the action we are collectively taking as a community brings justice to Osime and his family. I have never met people so undeserving of the terrible things happening to them, they are a wonderful family who clearly love each other deeply.
I hope that Friday’s protest marks a line in the sand, a line where we can so “no more” to the unfair treatment of POC and disabled people. We stand on the cusp of a new world and we must continue fighting for those who are suffering under the unjust paradigms of the old world.