The ancient Shire Hall in Woodbridge Suffolk UK which has been decorated with BLM posters

BLACK LIVES MATTER

The Shire Hall in the heart of Woodbridge has been decorated with BLM posters for the last 2 weeks. Young people want us to understand the problem really exists,  here     (Photo: Booie Bowers)

Yes, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

In Woodbridge. In Suffolk. In Britain. In  the world.  And I want to state unequivocally that I stand firmly behind this – and most particularly everything the young people of Woodbridge are  doing to raise awareness and alter perceptions.

I shouldn’t really have to put this out here, because it should be a no-brainer. Of course black lives matter.  Stands to reason.  We’re all human. Black lives, white lives, all lives  are begun by the same process, have the same potential, face the same difficulties, end in the same way.  We’re all in this together. Right?

Wrong.

Years after the Equality Act, it turns out that we’re still living in a country where your life, your life chances, your safety, your self esteem will be  threatened just  by being born with black skin. You’ll have a lesser chance of anything good (like a fair share of the pie). You’ll have a greater chance of anything bad (like a kick in the face).

Seems there’s discrimination even with Covid19: “The unequal impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk as well as inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease.”(PHE)

This inequality is not just ‘in the inner city’. It’s here, in Woodbridge. As Woodbridge-born #BLM campaigner Nadia Khan puts it: “People think racism is skinheads and swastikas. No, hun, it’s your auntie Karen.”

BLM peaceful demonstration poster for Woodbridge SuffolkAt the deeply moving, thought-provoking and utterly peaceful Black  Lives Matter demonstration, held in Elmhurst Park and  organised by Naomi Keeble, Harry Raithatha and others last Saturday,  a significant – and socially-distanced  crowd  of hundreds  gathered to hear simply-voiced stories of utter outrage: the 11 year old boy whose daily walk home from school took him past  two middle-aged men who shouted racist abuse at him. The teen who went to buy a birthday present, and was accused of shoplifting because she was the only black shopper. The 15 year old who was followed and punched – in broad daylight – by an adult. The child who was always left at the bottom of the drive, because she didn’t get to go into her friends’ houses.  The baby who ‘was really very light.’ The other pale-skinned baby, who “must have been adopted” because its mother was black. The remembered outrage of the white boy walking home with his black friend and who suddenly witnessed an episode of racist abuse without understanding why or how it could happen.  All in our nice polite white little town. Powerful, powerful – shaming – stuff.

Socially distances, the pople of Woodbridge, Suffolk, take the knee at a peaceful BLM demonstrationWe then ‘took the knee’ for the 8minutes and 46seconds it took for George Floyd to die. Some people were young, some over 80. For all of us, it seemed an immeasurable and horrifying  length of time to be kneeling. Again, very powerful.

I congratulate the young people of BLM Woodbridge for the peaceful, polite and determined manner in which  they have made this town sit up and take notice.  I am proud of the calm and reasoned means  they have used to raise awareness of innate white privilege and to try and change people’s mindsets. I am thrilled to  have heard people say how their views have been changed.

And I am also proud to live in a town where the Town Councillors can respond in such a positive and collegiate spirit to the concerns of these young people.

I am proud to represent this  town.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

 

One thought on “BLACK LIVES MATTER”

  1. Thank you for your support Caroline. Finally we have this matter on the agenda and I am incredibly proud of my son Harry and of Naomi and all the other young people who have got this far so quickly. With the support of you and the Town Council I hope we can keep it on the agenda, keep the conversation going and finally change things both in Woodbridge and throughout Suffolk and the whole UK.

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