Swindon, by Emily Nardini
My first protest. In the middle of a pandemic. Black Lives Matter. I’ve been aware of the movement since Trayvon Martin to George Floyd. I’ve been aware of systemic racism in depth since the ‘13th’ documentary that I watched in 2016 on Netflix. I’ve been aware of black history since I was 7 years old growing up in Frederick, Maryland within the states. I learned about racism every year in school. Then I came back to the UK at 14 and students in my class barely knew who Martin Luther King was. I’ve been aware. I’ve been aware. I’ve been aware. My white privilege knows racism is still a debate in 2020. I’m not prepared to just be aware anymore. I want to say it loudly. For my best friends. For my ex lovers. For the culture I love. For justice. For peace. Black lives matter. My best friend wanted me there. She made traditional ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs on cardboard for us each. Every sign there was beautiful. We dressed to protest. We were surprised on the turn out. We saw other loved ones. We were very proud of Swindon in that moment. We listened to speeches. We kneeled. We marched. We chanted. We cheered. It was emotional. It was peaceful. The next day, of course the Facebook warriors had a lot to say. Multiple people got deleted that day. We learned some statue history too. You can’t fool us. You can’t divide us. This was the biggest civil rights movement in history. Modern political anthems are on the rise again. On every brand. It’s everywhere. The message is clear. Black lives matter, black lives matter and “fuck the police”.
Reading, by Siân Irvine
Reading showed up for Black Lives Matter.
On Saturday, 13th June, a sit down protest organised by a lady called Shannon took place in Forbury Gardens. (Shannon if you are reading this please message me so I can credit you properly!)
Just behind the very prison where Oscar Wild was imprisoned for being gay, the people of Reading came out in the hundreds to remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the many, many other lives that have been lost to police brutality and racism.
The protest was peaceful, respectful and powerful. Protesters listened to the powerful words of speakers and performers, people from Reading and from around the world.
We sat in silence for a minute with a raised fist as we remembered those that have died. We taped our signs to the bandstand.
As we witness a revolution before our very eyes, I was proud to have been a part of it in some small way.
Black Lives Matter. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.