'We have to help each other': Luton father and daughter discuss need for all ethnicities to support Black Lives Matter

  • Who is Nishrat Islam?

Nishrat Islam is 21. She's a fashion student from Luton. Last week she organised a Black Lives Matter protest in Luton. Her dad, Mohammed, is 48. He came to the UK from Bangladesh in 1994 when he was 22.

ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer has been to speak to them both about their own experiences of discrimination and why they, as members of the South Asian and Muslim community, are supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Nishrat Islam and her dad, Mohammad. Credit: ITV Anglia
  • Sharing experiences of discrimination

“There is definitely racism in this country”, Nishrat says. “I’ve experienced racism in terms of what I’ve worn and I’ve been called names on the street just for being a Muslim. Therefore I do understand why Black Lives Matter is such an issue today.”

Nishrat organised Luton's Black Lives Matter protest. Credit: ITV Anglia
  • How has Nishrat been involved with the Black Lives Matter protests and why?

Last weekend, Nishrat organised a Black Lives Matter protest in Luton. She recognises the movement is separate from her own community’s struggle with racism and religious discrimination, but she wants to support the Black Lives Matter fight.

“There is racism towards our community, but I do understand that right now it is not our time. I need to help and support those who are in need. And right now Black Lives Matter are in need and I wanted to support and say I will fight beside you and help you however I can.”

Protestors in Luton Credit: Marc Davenant

Read More: Hundreds attending Black Lives Matter protests across region

It’s something her father Mohammad also supports. He too has experienced racism and religious discrimination. He says it’s time for everyone to come together to stand against prejudice.

“There is still lots of racism in this country, so someone has to start from somewhere,” he says. “I tell everybody, please, see each other, don’t see the religion or the skin colour, we can see each other as human. We have to help each other.”

Nishrat nods: “Exactly,” she says. “That’s why I believe it doesn’t matter what community I’m from, if someone is in need right now – Black lives are in need – I’ll be there to help them in any way I can”.

Read more: 'Two generations. One fight': Black men talk about their experiences of racism in Ipswich

Mohammad originates from Bangladesh. Credit: ITV Anglia
  • Where does change start?

Nishrat believes everyone can reflect on their own lives, and the fight for change starts with ourselves. Just as Mohammad tried to make things better for Nishrat, so she says she must fight for any children she may have and their generation.

“My name has Islam in it, and even I step back and think what would a recruiter think of me. And I just want to stop thinking like that. I don’t want my kids to think like that. And for them to stop thinking like that it starts with me. Therefore I want to come up with a solution for it. And I want it to change for me and my kids.”

That’s why she says peaceful protest to tackle prejudice must continue and why the fight must go on until people start listening and changing.

Read more: Hundreds gather peacefully in Peterborough and Ipswich for BLM protest

. Credit: Marc Davenant
  • Watch a report by ITV Anglia's Tanya Mercer below:

  • See more pictures taken by Marc Davenant from the Luton protest below:

. Credit: Marc Davenant
. Credit: Marc Davenant
. Credit: Marc Davenant
. Credit: Marc Davenant