Photography by Hope Evans
On Saturday the 13th of June 2020, Brighton took to the streets to protest for the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd by policemen in the USA and have taken place all over the world. From its founding role in the transatlantic slave trade; it's global colonial empire; and its orchestrating of the hostile environment and the Windrush Scandal, the UK has a long, mostly unrecognised, history of racism. We asked protestors in Brighton why they were there and what message they were there to send. Here is what they had to say.
'How are you going to speak up to a system that doesn’t want to hear you? This country is built on black lives - use your power to fight for us.'
'I don’t want my kids to have to do this. Not another generation.'
'A change needs to happen in the UK, we can no longer compare ourselves to America; racism is not a comparative spectrum – if racism is present it needs to be addressed.'
'Black history is filtered out of our education to create a narrative that deviates from the truth.'
'Covid-19 has allowed us all to self-reflect and realise how much we’re contributing to an oppressive system. It's time for a wake up call.'
'We’re angry but it’s all about love. We’re protesting because we’re tired of not being heard, but we just want to be loved. We want to spread that message.'
'I came to not only raise my voice, but to memorialise it – we’re making history.'
'Brighton has structural inequality - particularly in education and housing; the situation for black and minority ethnic people in this city needs to be addressed.'
'A lot of people consider Brighton and Hove quite liberal, and it many respects it is, but in many respects, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.'
'I’m here because I need an outlet. I’m angry with the situation that is going on in the world.'
'This isn’t just an American issue. It’s become global. It’s brought a lot of issues to the surface that we haven’t realised until today, and this week and next week and next year. We need to keep learning.'
'Gay pride and black pride are synonymous; it was black trans people that started the revolution of pride - we should stand as one.'
'This is not just a protest, it’s a revolution.'
'We're here to be on the right side of history.'
'Everything about me is a protest.'
'I’m here for my life, for my family, for everyone that I love. This is for equality; this is a march for humanity.'
'There is a lot of anger, but also a lot of hope - hope for the future. The energy is electric.'
'We’re here to do something that our people have been doing for decades – to fight for our rights and for our future. It’s freeing to be able to be proud of being black.'
'My purpose is to come here and spread knowledge and history of what our people have gone through and the legacy we have within the world right now – within the art industry, the music industry, fashion, as well as the intellects. We’re here because a person of colour was taken down again, but discrimination goes far beyond that.
A lot of our anger is justified, but not necessarily useful. We are almost being allowed to do this – which sounds ridiculous to say. We are sending a completely different message – we’re not coming for vengeance, or revenge, or violence; we just want to be heard and seen. This has to be the way forward. I encourage every person of colour to lead the way with our voices, our ways, our art, our creativity and expression.
It’s an illusion that has gone on for too long. Power resides within every single one of us. Let’s not wait anymore.'
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