One year after 10K paraded in London chanting “Black Lives Matter”, what has changed?
A year after five young London women staged one of the biggest protests ever in London, what has changed?
We asked several Londoners at the June 2020 rally and march, organized in the wake of the police murder of American George Floyd, to reflect on last year.
Gaida Hamdun, organizer of BLM London
We have built a community for the people of BIPOC. Before that, I didn’t really know how to make my voice heard or how to make changes. With such a big platform, I think it’s a lot easier to shine a light on the things, the things that we need to change here in London and in the community as a whole. I now know that I can make a change if I try to make a change.
I think since last year, after the death of George Floyd, people have become more aware of the injustices in the black community. It used to be a handful of people, but since last year there has been momentum. People posted about it, they spoke out against racism when they see it and recognize it when they see it. The job is not done, but educating people is the first step.
Charyda Tshikangu, student
There is still a lot of education required, from the youngest to the oldest, on the issues of people of color and the black community. The walk was a good start, but it’s still a work in progress, and it can’t be just one day.
There is a stronger sense of alliance last year. Many people are more comfortable talking about problems. People are more outspoken and are less afraid to call people. Before, there were people who didn’t talk about it publicly, but people are more frank than before.
Gal Harper, BLM organizer
In the end, not enough has changed. It’s hard not to sound impatient, but the wait has been long enough. It wouldn’t have taken a death to be filmed and broadcast to the world to get people moving.
As far as reforms at the local level are concerned, there have been some positive changes, or at least we are talking about positive changes that seem to be accepted by the general public, but any major reforms, or substantial ideas that show up, pushed to the side, and that’s where my frustration lies.
More and more people are talking about racism. More people will ask me about racism. They will try to find a way to start a conversation about racism. I hadn’t realized how little people who grew up with me knew about my experiences. There is certainly more awareness and more interest in discussing it, but just talking about it doesn’t mean they’ve changed their attitude.
I still have hope. I am a hopeful guy. I think things will and can change.
Alexandra Kane, BLM spokesperson
It has changed the conversations and the way conversations go in terms of applying an equity lens to real estate policy. It opened people’s minds to the way things were and it changed and adjusted things for the better. There is a long way to go, it’s unreal. But it at least opened the conversation.
I wish everything had been different and everyone had heard the rally call. The hardest part is being so loud, having so much community strength, and then being faced with a tough break when it comes to working with the city or the school boards. Policies get in the way, but we make those policies, so why can’t they just step aside? What I’m most proud of is the trust that community members have placed in BLM and in the work. There are so many people who say “I wanted to say that, but I didn’t have the courage or the support or the backing”, and we can be a catalyst for their voice, and that’s what ultimately is my. Motivation Forcing.
Jordan Lindo, community activist
I continued to educate. We have never seen so many people from all walks of life come together to support the same cause. It’s been a year, what really happened from that? I would say nothing on a large scale in the city, but I know people work differently after seeing what London as a whole can do. People are more aware, I don’t know if they are receptive.
It’s an individual thing. We, ourselves, really need to be educated. It’s not the only cause in the world, there’s a lot going on, but it’s something we need to keep talking about. The only frustration is that I am only one person. See so many people, and I’m just me. A year later, a percentage of those people, for them, it was just a parade. I wish I could do so much, but I can’t do as much as one person.