Saturday 13th June 2020, was truly a momentous and magnificent day in Canterbury. Hundreds and hundreds of people marched at this well-attended, well-organised and very well-managed event. We came together to say enough is enough, Black lives matter, following the atrocious murder of George Floyd in USA few weeks ago. Canterbury can be proud for years to come at the dedication and passion held by all those who protested. People began to gather at Westgate gardens around 11:30am many of them were young and held placards and wore t shirts emblazoned with words of solidarity for the movement. The crowd left Westgate and marched round Canterbury. The chants and the passion was a force de resistance. So much intent, focus and dedication to the cause, it was amazing to see and hear. The procession marched around Canterbury twice, stopping at the Cathedral to listen to words from the Revd Rose Hudson -Wilkin , Bishop of Dover. ‘Lets come together in harmony , make the change that needs to happen she said. A placard showed the words, ‘Racism is a pandemic’ and she commented on it. ‘Yes, racism is is a pandemic and we are dying slowly, So lets put a stop to it.” She sent her love to all those marching asking them to peacefully, “lets not find someone else to blame. We are going to be the change that we want to see. “
The march then continued on to Dane John gardens where even more people were gathered and social distancing. Many protestors who had been marching sat up on the banks to provide more space for everyone to spread out and keep space between them. We sat and listened to a number of amazing and inspiring speakers from our community including our councillors Val Kenny and Mel Dawkins, There was poetry, music and speeches about real experiences, a tear came to my eye on many occasion. I was very distressed to hear a story from a mother who’s black autistic twelve year old son had suffered years of racism in a SEN school. They had not been listened to by those who were suppose to be looking after them!! We then stood and knelt in solidarity and sincerity with our black and BAME brothers and sisters.
The march was full of friendships, love and family all coming together to show their belief in the movement. I was totally amazed and proud of the respect, dignity and conviction from all those involved. It was beautiful. The dedicated chanting from the crowd was relentless, from the very beginning till the very end when it finished at 5pm, following the guidance from the government and police. It was truly an awesome and inspirational day and hope to see another one soon. It was pointed out by many of the speakers that this movement can’t just be a one-off, job done, we need to go out into our communities and keep flagging up the message, striving for a better world , until the change comes that we want to see. The day proved that this is possible.!!
I’m here today to stand with the black and BAME community to support the Black Lives Matter movement and say enough is enough!
To take someones life as a result of an arrest should never ever happen in any country in the 21st Century.
People have asked why people in UK are protesting about someone in the USA. But it’s here too, this movement challenges years of historic injustice suffered by the black community and aims to raise awareness about systemic racism here too as well.
It needs to be faced head on, once and for all. Not just to say we have done this and that, but make a real difference and change. It’s entrenched and these conversations need to be had, however uncomfortable (from either side of the divide)
We need to stamp out the injustice, then we can can have true peace and equality.
Since I went on BLM march last weekend I know many been trolled and have received abusive messages. But imagine this was everyday? How would you feel? How would you feel for your children and loved ones safety. I feel scared from that, but this is how our black brothers and sisters have to live everyday. But how long can you be scared?
No one should have to live their life in fear like this.
Michelle Obama once said ‘do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for a world as it should be?
We don’t have to settle for this. We have the power to change things and stand up with the BAME community and anyone else experiencing injustice.
I want to see a world where we can all live together with respect and peace, no one left behind and no one is treated differently because of the colour of their skin or where they came from and indeed anything that makes us different from one another. We should respect each others cultures too and be allowed to live freely and peacefully together embracing it all.
Nobody on this beautiful earth, that we all share together, should be treated any different. Lets stand together and I stand with you in solidarity. Thank you!