Berkeley protesters honor death of 12-year-old refugee Shukri Abdi

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Protesters gathered at Berkeley High School on Saturday, the first anniversary of the death of Shukri Abdi, a 12-year-old refugee fleeing conflict in Somalia.

Abdi drowned June 27, 2019, in England. Despite the fact that Abdi’s mother previously stated she had been bullied at school and could not swim, the Greater Manchester Police initially treated her death as a “tragic incident” and said they did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances.

The investigation into the circumstances of her death was suspended, and as of now, there is no date set for when it will resume.

The protest, which was co-organized by UC Berkeley students Gabrielle Sharp, Filson Fugfugosh and Suaad Nour, began at Berkeley High, and attendees marched to Willard Park in an effort to garner more traction for Abdi’s case.

“It was to bring attention to all Black lives instead of just Black male lives,” said Mahdi Fugfugosh, a protester who helped organize a previous Black Lives Matter protest in Hayward. 

The protesters also had a list of demands, written by Nyaduoth Gatkuoth, who organized the Los Angeles protest for Abdi.

The demands include reopening the investigation into Abdi’s death, a full investigation into the alleged bullying at Abdi’s school, reform in U.K. school curriculum to focus more on ethnic cultures and new zero-tolerance policies regarding bullying and racial discrimination.

“The family would like to thank everybody that is joining the demonstrations this weekend,” reads a recent press release from central organizers of the #Justice4Shukri movement. “It is heartening to know people all across the world are joining the call for Justice for Shukri Abdi. We ask you all to keep Shukri and her family in your prayers as we continue the struggle to get answers.”

According to Nour, she and others have been aware of Abdi’s death for the past year, but it has attracted more attention recently, mostly due to other Black Lives Matter protests.

“It was an essential thing to highlight all the deaths of people who have more marginal identities. For example, Shukri wasn’t just Black; she was Somali, she was a refugee, she was a woman and all of those things contributed to her ultimate death,” Nour said. “It was important to highlight the fact that all Black lives matter, not just acceptable Black lives.”

Contact Clara Brownstein at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @clarabrownstein.