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The Rife Team

A refreshing recap of the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol

Keziah and Qezz ask the young people of Bristol what they thought of the city’s protest

On Sunday 7th of June, the sun shone bright at 1pm, and people roared, cried and celebrated.  The people of Bristol joined in harmony to protest for the Black Lives Matter movement. Organised by young people, the city came together as allies, friends and a community to raise awareness of injustice.

The event started at College Green with thousands of attendees of all ages and colours. The march went through the centre of Bristol and ended at Castle Park. Many Black brothers and sisters took the mic to share their experiences and anecdotes. The anger of injustice and the exhaustion of inequality radiated in their voices. The mass of protestors also took part in an 8 minute and 46 seconds silence to honour George Floyd. In those eight minutes, the lively atmosphere paused. The silence reminded us of the racist inequalities black people face and have been for centuries before us. The pain, anger and exhaustion were heard.

We asked few young people who attended to sum up their experience and thoughts.

Mevis Birungi, 28

Birungi 28

What are your reflections on the march? 

It was great to see the level of diversity at the march. Also, walking by people and hearing them educate each other was great to see.

How do we go forward from here? 

We need to continue the conversations, taking changes from within into wider society. People need to continue their reflection process and embody it into daily living.

Personally, I am not a fan of the term ‘people of colour’ because we don’t change colours. It’s the most universal term used, so in this context, I will use it. Speak to the people of colour around you, understand their experiences, educate yourself, find your own research. Every immigrant and POC in Western culture have researched and educated themselves on Western culture and made efforts. They have done this in a conscious and unconscious manner to fit into the Western cultural mould. For once we are asking people from the white community to educate themselves on other cultures and other people’s life prospective in the Western countries, the same way we have for many years.

Jack Warne, 22

What are your reflections on the march? 

It was a powerful day and I felt a mixture of emotions. There’s a lot to be angry about, but I found a sense of calm and felt inspired and further educated by the black voices present. Most importantly, it was a day which allowed me to continue to learn and begin to think about things I can do to help make a change.

How do we go forward from here? 

It can’t go away. Start supporting black businesses, keep reading, reading and reading. More people need to be aware of how deep-rooted racism against people of colour is. Young people need to be taught about Britain’s racist and colonial history in schools, minds need to be opened from a young age. It’s time to stem the tide.

Dee Hassan, 24

What are your reflections on the march? 

I was very pleasantly surprised yesterday. It felt like at least the young people in this city were on the same page as me about the movement. It made me very proud to call Bristol home.

How do we go forward from here? 

We have a lot to do from here. Not just with renaming memorials to slave traders but taking a look at why Bristol is the worst city when it comes to race equalities. We need to find out why black African people in particular experience a greater disadvantage here in Bristol than anywhere else.

Rory Joseph, 24

What are your reflections from the march? 

My thoughts on the protest have been really positive overall. I’ve lived in Bristol for all 24 years of my life and have never seen this many people take to the streets for protest.  It was very inspiring. I’ve seen more police at a Bristol City football match.

How do we go forward from here? 

Going forward we need to reflect on the actions taken and assess how organised and peaceful this protest was with little influence from the council or police. The power of the people.

Lucy Turner, 25 

What are your reflections from the march? 

I felt an internal struggle between my strength as a black woman and the raw vulnerability it takes to acknowledge all the injustices my people have faced.

How do we go forward from here? 

We continue to educate ourselves. We keep the conversations going. The whole world needs to listen to people of colours’ experiences. Our voices must be heard in order to move forward. We’ve been muted since the beginning of time and that will never happen again.

How was your experience at the Black Lives Matter Protest? Let us know on our social media!