BBPI were honoured to host His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort on Wednesday 8th Feb in Tower Hamlets as part of a visit to honour the borough’s Bangladeshi community.
Brick Lane is more than just a street to the British Bangladeshi community. BBPI is humbled beyond words that Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort have accepted our invitation to visit the community in our spiritual home of Brick Lane and in so doing are recognising the struggles our elders faced in making Britain their home.
As a community we have suffered a disproportionate number of deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic. We proposed Their Majesties visit as a way for our generation to pay tribute to those we have lost, and, on whose shoulders, we stand today.
The visit started at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel Road – named after the 25-year-old man who was murdered in a racist attack in Adler Street in 1978. There The King and The Queen Consort met with elders from the community who were involved in the anti-racism movement at the time.
The King and The Queen Consort planted a tree to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Altab’s death and visited the Shaheed Minar monument which commemorates the Bengali Language Movement.
Following the park, they walked along Brick Lane starting at Banglatown Arch and adjacent mural. Both the arch, which was renovated last year, and the mural called ‘Mateer Tan / The Land is Calling, which was painted by international artist Mohammed Ali MBE, pay tribute to 50 years of Bangladeshi independence which was celebrated in 2021.
Accompanied by a dance procession, they continued down the famous street stopping to meet children from a number of local schools, local charities and businesses and women of the BBPI Jamdani Network.
The visit concluded at the Brick Lane Mosque learning about the history of the building which has changed over the years from a Church to a Synagogue to the present Mosque.
They met several community and business representatives, including the Brick Lane Funeral Service Director and to hear about the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and interfaith work.
We are delighted to have had the opportunity to tell the stories that reflect 52 years of British Bangladeshi experience.
The visit from Their Majesties is the culmination of the BBPI Freedom 50 initiatives including lighting up the London Eye in red and green on 26th March 2021 and work on the Bangldesh climate emergency during COP26.