Black Lives Matter

Abbeyfield Park, Sheffield

We physically distanced ourselves, we wore masks, we knelt in silence, fists of resistance raised. The air hummed with our anger, our sorrow and our determination to bring about change. One moment, feeling a bit foolish, kneeling there, the next looking again at the young black woman at the front, fist never lowering even for a moment. She knows what it is to be black. She knows this isn’t just another issue; this is life or death. Then our anger mixed with humiliation for generation upon generation of our collective failure to act or to speak up. Or to even see the people around us as they really are, and listen to them talk, at length, about their lived experience, their pain; their reality.

My friend wrote a chant in response to this which serves as a song of lament and also a way of reminding ourselves repeatedly to wake up and pay attention, to prevent us falling back into our well worn grooves of inaction, silence or complicity:

“The beginning of evil is heedlessness; Lord have mercy”

Abba Poeman
Lucy Bolster, Play in Chants

Another friend blogged a response to do with the controversial dismantling of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol. What he writes is astonishing and in my view should be read by anyone in the UK currently or who has an interest in what is happening here.

“…it was only in 2015 that we [UK Government] finally finished paying the debt borrowed by the UK state to pay off the slave owners after the abolition of slavery act in 1833. It was the biggest payment in our history, more than the bankers bailout in 2008. It was 40% of our entire GDP. Not a penny went to slaves who still had to work as interns for free for a further 5 years.”

Find Chris Howson’s full blog post here: http://ajustchurch.blogspot.com/2020/06/statues-and-slavery.html?m=1

5 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter

  1. The toppling of Colston was controversial, really? Who’d dare speak up for him? /me has a quick Google. Only Bojo the Clown that I saw. First they came for the slave traders eh?

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  2. “…our collective failure to act or to speak up…” and in particular to vote for representatives both local and national who will commit to reform of our institutions – we protest, we show solidarity, but then vote for the same old same old…

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    1. Yep. The more I think about it, the more strongly I believe that the main qualification for being an MP or “public servant” of any sort is the ability to be becoming ever more aware of your own selfish concerns and to consciously and daily lay them down, for the benefit of the whole country/wider world. That sort of integrity would make a person a brilliant MP or worker at any level of government, I think.

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  3. My uncle has sent me this comment via email, including an invite for me to post it here:
    “The last post interested me inasmuch as I was not aware of the cost to the country to rid itself of the slave trade. To that capital cost we should add the cost of sending the Royal Navy to intercept slavers in their trade. I have always been aware of the ongoing payments the UK make to the US of A for services rendered in WW2, we have just finished paying them for their services in WW1.
    What else is hiding in the depths of Whitehall that needs to be shown the disinfectant of daylight, needs to be front and centre prior to your next general election. Any idea of where we should be looking?
    I don’t think that by pushing a brass likeness of a guy that lived such a long time ago does anything to alter history, a better solution, to have my 2 bobs worth, is to have a full explanation of what the man did and how it was done hung around his neck for all to see. And the cost to the country to start to put a stop to it. Slavery still happens in the US of A, they just happen to be paid the minimum wage if they are lucky to get work on any given day.
    Love K”

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