Teen behind Black Lives banner on rural back lane delivers powerful anti-racism message

  Posted: 05.06.20 at 13:16 by Derek Davis

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The student who has displayed a Black Lives Matter banner outside her rural home has called on more people to take tangible action against racism.

The teenager, who has asked not to be named, hung the poster, which reads 'Black Lives Matter, Now & Always', on the family’s front garden wall on the back lanes of the peninsula, and insisted it is not enough merely to be non-racist, but people need be pro-active on the issue.

“After seeing the videos of what happened in America, the incredible injustice with systematic racism and police violence, I felt really helpless," the campaigner told Nub News. “There are only so many petitions I can sign, and only a certain amount of money I can donate as a 17-year-old.

"I felt I wanted to give a public message, I don't know how many people will see it but I can in some way show support for a movement, when I can’t go to London to protest."

The former peninsula school girl, insisted even if hardly anyone saw it she felt it was an important thing for her to do.

She said: “As someone who has never been affected by racism, and never will, I wanted to show support for something that is important. It made me feel a little less helpless.

"I know putting something up in a rural setting like this won’t change anything, it won’t prompt the Government into action, but it may make people think a little more about the issue."

The activist, who in the past was instrumental in protests over school uniforms, and is a Climate Change campaigner, will be going to the Black Lives Matters assembly at Ipswich Christchurch Park tomorrow and another protest in Colchester.

She believes actions are as important as powerful words and sitting on the fence is not an option, and said: “These are not my words but I feel they are powerful, Desmond Tutu said ‘If you are a neutral in a situation of injustice then you are choosing the side of the oppressor’.

"At the moment it is not enough to be not racist, it is now important to be ant-racist because we can’t just say ‘oh I’m not a racist’ then look at something online and sign a black square for Black Out Tuesday, or sign a petition for George Floyd and think that is enough, because it is not enough. It will never be enough until equality in all areas is achieved.

“I will never understand how it feels to suffer racism so for that reason it is important that those who don't suffer systematic racism hear the black voices.

"It does not mean we should stand back, we have to educate ourselves and stand with them (Black Lives Matter movement), if we don't stand with them, then it is almost as if you are against them."

The protester added: "People dismiss this protest as an American thing, when it is not, it is everywhere and it is not OK to dismiss it being just on the other side of the pond. There is so much racism everywhere, that if everyone doesn't do something about it, then what will happen?"

Despite its relatively obscure location, the banner has been noticed and cause a heated exchange on Facebook when one woman posted a derogatory comment about hanging the message over the wall, scores of people took to the comment's thread to support her, the text and the banner.

Having so much time at home during lockdown has given A-level student much time to consider her future, but whatever lay ahead, her principles are paramount.

"I'm really interested in fashion and perhaps I will study, so Im not sure if I will go to university, or art school.

“There are so many things I care about that whatever I do I, whether it is with a fashion company of my own or something else, that my values will be at the forefront of that.

“Having a voice is important to me, and expressing that is important too.

“If people get too complacent and comfortable then how will the world change? And the world has to change.

“We live in a society that was built on the oppression of certain groups of people, or even whole genders, then how is that a society our children can live in, how is it a society we can progress and be better."

The Black Lives Matter event at Christchurch Park on Saturday, June 6 at 2pm and protesters are asked to stay two metres apart due to the current coronavirus crisis.

Read: Peninsula school named as Stephen Lawrence Ambassadors

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