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- Belly Mujinga, a British railway worker, died of coronavirus on April 5 after a man who said he had the illness allegedly spat at her and a colleague.
- The British Transport Police closed the case in May, saying there was "no evidence" that Mujinga was spat on.
- Protestors in the U.K. are demanding justice for Mujinga, as well as George Floyd, (opens in new tab)Breonna Taylor, (opens in new tab)Tony McDade, (opens in new tab) Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black people murdered as a result of police brutality and anti-Black racism.
Belly Mujinga, a 47-year-old Black railway worker, feared for her health as she worked at London's Victoria station amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mujinga had respiratory problems, her cousin Agnes and an unnamed coworker told (opens in new tab) the Guardian, and had asked not to work outside the enclosed ticket office without proper PPE—but, they alleged, she was still instructed to work on the station concourse.
"We begged not to go out. We said: 'Our lives are in danger,'" a colleague said (opens in new tab). "We were told that we are not even allowed to put on masks."
On March 22, a man approached Mujinga and one of her coworkers, spitting at and coughing on both, as the Guardian reports. The assailant claimed he had coronavirus—and both women subsequently contracted the illness. On April 5, Mujinga died in hospital, leaving behind her 11-year-old daughter, Ingrid, and her husband, Lusamba Gode Katalay. Due to coronavirus restrictions, only 10 people were permitted to attend her funeral.
"She shouldn’t have been sent out without any PPE. We want justice for Belly. They need to find the person who did it," Mujinga's cousin Agnes told the Guardian. "And the company should compensate the family; her daughter doesn’t have a mother any more. They should protect those who are left."
The British Transport Police announced (opens in new tab) on May 29 that no further action would be taken in Mujinga's case, stating that there was "no evidence to substantiate any criminal offences having taken place." After public outcry, the BTP said (opens in new tab) that the Crown Prosecution Service had been invited to review the evidence, including CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts, but maintained that they had "comprehensively reviewed all the available evidence and [had] not identified any offences or behaviour that meets the threshold for prosecution."
In a statement (opens in new tab), Mujinga's husband Katalay said, "Black lives do matter. Belly’s life mattered. It mattered to me, to our daughter, our friends and family, to Belly’s colleagues, and now it matters to many thousands of you out there."
"We want justice for Belly. Belly didn’t lie about being assaulted," Katalay continued. "Belly and her colleague were confronted and intimidated as frontline workers and their concerns and their fears were ignored. We continue to have questions after the police investigation."
How can I help demand justice for Belly Mujinga?
Sign a petition calling for justice for Belly Mujinga here (opens in new tab).
Donate to a fundraiser to support Mujinga's family, including her daughter Ingrid, here (opens in new tab).
Donate to Black Lives Matter UK (UKBLM) here (opens in new tab).
Donate to Black Protest Legal Support UK, a fund to provide legal support to Black Lives Matter protestors, here (opens in new tab).
Donate to Black Minds Matter, a fund to provide therapy for Black people in the U.K., here (opens in new tab).
Donate to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, a charity established after the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, here (opens in new tab).
Donate to HOPE not hate, an anti-racist, anti-fascist campaign group, here (opens in new tab).
Donate to Stop Hate UK, an organization that tackles hate crime and supports victims, here.
Black Lives Matter
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Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.
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