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An image of the Robert Milligan Statue being removed.

Jun 11th, 2020

Robert Milligan’s Statue

By 38 Degrees team

This week, after a powerful petition was set up on the 38 Degrees website by Councillor Ehtasham Haque, a statue which celebrated the slave trader Robert Milligan was removed from West India Quay in Tower Hamlets.

38 Degrees is independent of all political parties, but we do encourage people involved in politics to run campaigns on our website so long as they are not about promoting their political party.

Councillor Haque’s petition received over 5,000 signatures, and was widely shared on social media by members of his local community.  Councillor Haque also sent a message to the authority in charge of the statue – The Canal & Rivers Trust – to let them know about his petition. After finding out about the petition and hearing local people explain why they had signed, The Trust recognised the wishes of the community, and arranged to have the statue removed.

You can see Councillor Haque’s petition here.

This campaign comes after anti-racism protesters in Bristol saw the removal of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also announced a review of all of London’s statues and street names, saying any with links to slavery “should be taken down”.  If you would like to learn more about the removal of statues and why it is important – we encourage you to read “The toppling of Edward Colston’s statuee is not an attack on history. It is history.”, an article by the historian David Olusoga.

At 38 Degrees, we want to help create real change by coming together with millions of others across the UK, to take action on issues that affect all of us. Every time a community unites to take positive action and a campaign like this is won, we are incredibly proud.

38 Degrees members come together to try and create a better and fairer UK, where we no longer celebrate shameful characters like Colston or Milligan with statues. If you feel passionately about this issue too and would like to start your own campaign about removing or renaming a building/statue/monument in your area, you can do so in a few minutes here.

We have some tips on setting up and managing your campaign here.

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