Writing To Your MP To Support Black Lives Matter: How To Do It, What To Say And Why You Should

Holding your elected representatives to account is a vital way to protest from home.

Black Lives Matter protest

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Labour MP Emily Thornberry has called for the UK to suspend the sale of riot control equipment to the United States and review whether British-made teargas or crowd control guns are being used against protestors across the United States.

Writing to her opposite number, the international trade secretary Liz Truss, the Labour MP said ‘If this were any other leader, in any other country in the world, the suspension of any such exports is the least we could expect from the British government in response to their actions, and our historic alliance with the United States is no reason to shirk that responsibility now.’

According to 2020 reports, the Department of International Trade licensed the export of a variety of riot control weapons including anti-riot guns, teargas and riot shields this year. ‘The British public deserve to know how arms exported by this country are being used across the world and the American public deserve the right to protest peacefully without the threat of violent repression,’ Thornberry concluded.

Her sentiment has been welcomed online, not just as a vital call to action but also as proof that the British public can be heard by their MPs. In the past week, there have been countless calls for the public to write to their MP and demand action to support the Black Lives Matter movement as a safe and vital way to protest from home.

In the UK, the movement is calling for defunding of the police, redistribution of funds to help provide educational resources, healing practices and emergency Covid-19 relief in black communities that are bearing the brunt of this crisis. They also call for the development of training, police monitoring and strategies to abolish the police altogether – as does the US movement.

So what can you demand specifically from your MP? Well, to speak out would be a start. Has your MP condemned the murder of George Floyd? If not, ask them why. But you can go beyond that. Your MP is your representative, you have the power to demand they take whatever cause you're passionate about to parliament.

That could be the exports of riot gear as Thornberry wrote, or the fact that the Metropolitan police are twice as likely to fine a black person for breaching lockdown than a white person, or that Covid-19 death rates are highest among people of black and Asian ethnic groups compared to white British ethnicity – with the government yet to provide an explanation as to why or how it plans tackle this.

More generally, there's the fact that police officers in the UK are four times more likely to use force against black people than white people. In 2017-18 alone, the use of force was equivalent to one in every 50 black people compared to one in every 200 white people.

Then there's the issue with the use of stop and searches. If you’re white British, four in every 1000 people can expect to be stopped. If you’re mixed race white and black African, nine in every 1000 people will be stopped. If you’re black African, 24 of every 1000 people will be and if you’re Black Caribbean, 31 of every 1000 people can expect to be stop and searched. In general, black people in the UK are more likely to be in prison than those in the US

These figures are unequivocal evidence of racism in this country. You can write to your MP to demand a review and ask them what they intend to do to tackle endemic racism in the UK police and justice systems.

And it's not just police brutality, there is so much more MP's should be held accountable for when it comes to racism in this country. For example, you could question what they’re doing about the racial wage gap – which currently shows black workers are paid 7.7% less than their white counterparts – or the lack of black history on school curriculums – for which there is currently an online petition you can sign – or why our very own Prime Minister is yet to apologise for racist comments he has made in the past.

White people, this isn’t a one-issue problem or a check-list to feel good about your allyship.

In a Google document being shared widely online, a very simple, easy-read template has been laid out by Perkin Alamaraj that you can copy and paste as an email. In it, Alamaraj suggests asking the following of your MP.

‘What exactly have you done to combat racism in the UK on a national and local level? Have you introduced any legislation in parliament that actively aims to either fight racism or lift people of colour out of a disadvantaged position? What measures have you taken to ensure that racism within our community isn’t allowed to thrive? I would also like detailed responses to these questions.’

You can also check your MPs voting record here and send individual questions on why they voted a certain way. But what’s crucial for white people to understand is, this isn’t a one-issue problem nor a check-list to feel good about your allyship. Racism is deeply-engrained into this countries every fibre and it will mean continued education and listening to understand the issues you should be raising with your MP regularly. This is a relentless, enduring issue that you will have to continue to hold your representatives accountable for in the future.

How do I actually write to my MP?

If you’ve never done it before, it can sound like a daunting task. But actually, it’s very simple. Find out your MP using WriteToThem, you only have to know your postcode! There you will be greeted by your local councillors, assembly members and MP. You can even write to the House of Lords if you so wish.

Ultimately, the House of Commons is responsible for making laws in the UK and overall scrutiny of all aspect of government, so your MP is your best bet to get your point heard. Click on their name and you will be greeted with a ‘write your message box’. WriteToThem asks you to use your own words – blocking identical messages – so only use this tool if you know what you want to write.

What do I write to my MP?

If you would prefer to copy and paste a template as above, then do it from your own email account. You can find out your MPs email address easily by typing their name into Google plus ‘email’ and visiting the UK Parliament website.

When structuring your letter, begin by introducing yourself and the issue you want to discuss. Then you can descend into the many statistics shown above or others you may’ve seen online (ensuring they’re factually correct). Explain why this issue so important to you, citing any personal connections you feel comfortable doing so, before acknowledging their voting record or previous comments on the topic. If they’ve shown support for the movement it may be useful to mention that so they can see you are informed on how they’re voting and acting.

Then comes the questions, ask about their inaction or what action they plan to take in future. Ask for a detail response of how they’re going to move forward on this matter, who they’re going to take these issues to and what you should expect in terms of future updates on said matter. Remind them that you are well aware it is their duty to serve the community, of which BAME constituents should be a priority.

Finally, finish by thanking them for taking the time to read your email or letter and acknowledging you look forward to a response. Sign your name and address.

Click through to find anti-racism charities you should be supporting...


Charities To Support - Grazia

Charities To Support - Grazia1 of 23

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice

Peace and Healing for Darnella Fund2 of 23

Peace and Healing for Darnella Fund

Darnella Frazier, the brave young woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd, deserves peace and healing. In addition to the trauma of watching a black man be murdered by police, she has had to deal with trolls, bullies and ignorant people harassing her online. This fund is to support the healing and the restoration of hope for Darnella Frazier —whatever that means to her.

Justice for Jacob Blake Fund3 of 23

Justice for Jacob Blake Fund

Set up by Blake's mother, this fund will cover his medical expenses, mental and grief counseling for his family and to assist them in the days to come, as they continue to seek justice for Jacob. A portion of these proceeds will also be used to benefit his six children.

Milwaukee Freedom Fund4 of 23

Milwaukee Freedom Fund

MFF was started by Black and Brown Milwaukee organizers to support residents' right to protest for justice. Donations help support their work helping protesters and community mutual aid and start a locally controlled and operated Milwaukee Bail Out Fund that is part of the National Bail Out Network. Through this work they will build on ongoing bail abolition efforts, support immigration efforts, work towards Black and Brown Liberation and support Black and Brown young people as they build a new world.

George Floyd Memorial Fund5 of 23

George Floyd Memorial Fund

This fund covers his funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling for the family, lodging and travel for all court proceedings and to assist the family in the days to come as they continue to seek justice for George. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.

Minnesota Freedom Fund6 of 23

Minnesota Freedom Fund

The MFF is working with the US National Lawyers Guild and Legal Rights Center to help bails that are set for protestors.

Charities To Support - Grazia7 of 23

Prison Reform Trust

Prison Reform Trust works to make the prison system in the UK just, humane and effective.

Charities To Support - Grazia8 of 23

Joint Council For The Welfare Of Immigrants

The JCWI aims to create a world in which immigration law and policy are based on sound evidence, promote the rule of law and are underpinned by respect for human rights and human dignity

Charities To Support - Grazia9 of 23

Access UK

Helps reduce BME youth unemployment, provide employment and training solutions for youth offenders and implement anti-gang initiatives in the community.

Charities To Support - Grazia10 of 23

Charity So White

Tackles institutional racism in the charity sector.

Charities To Support - Grazia11 of 23

Black Thrive

Black Thrive works to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services.

Charities To Support - Grazia12 of 23

The Ubele Initiative

Supports the African diaspora community.

Charities To Support - Grazia13 of 23

Women In Prison

Supports women affected by the criminal justice system and campaigns to end the harm of prison to women, their families and our communities.

Charities To Support - Grazia14 of 23

Race On The Agenda (ROTA)

Race On The Agenda (ROTA) is a social policy research organisation focusing on issues that impact BAME communities.

Charities To Support - Grazia15 of 23

Show Racism The Red Card

Provides educational workshops, training sessions, multimedia packages, and a whole host of other resources, all with the purpose of tackling racism in society.

Charities To Support - Grazia16 of 23

The Equality Trust

Works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic and social inequality.

Charities To Support - Grazia17 of 23

Stop Hate UK

A service for victims of racial harassment aiming to end hate crimes in the UK.

Charities To Support - Grazia18 of 23


Generates intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.

National Bail Out19 of 23

National Bail Out

This US charity is a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.

Charities To Support - Grazia20 of 23

Black Lives Matter

This US organisation (for which there is a UK movement here) fights to end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.

Charities To Support - Grazia21 of 23


BEAM is a US training, movement building and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.

Charities To Support - Grazia22 of 23

Ahmaud Arbery Memorial Fund

Ahmaud Arbery was chased and gunned down by Travis McMichael, son of retired Brunswick investigator Greg McMichael, under the father's and son's pretenses of witnessing a burglary in Satilla Shores of Glynn County. There is no evidence of the alleged burglary.

Charities To Support - Grazia23 of 23

Belly Mujinga Memorial Fund

For the memorial of Belly Mujinga, the railway worker who was spat at before she died of Covid-19.

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