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Young People March Through Guildford To Show ‘Black Lives Matter’

Published on: 6 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 6 Jun, 2020

Impromptu and impassioned speeches from 20-year-old Amber-Valetta Nunes and 23-year-old, Shelley Rose Kapur who said, “We all need to be the change.”

By Hugh Coakley

As many as 2,000 mainly young people demonstrated in Guildford today (Saturday, June 6) in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Gathering in Stoke Park after marching from the High Street at midday, there was a series of impromptu and impassioned speeches to an enthusiastic and vocal crowd.

The crowd chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breath” in reference to the words gasped out by George Floyd, the African-American man, who died as he was being restrained by four policemen in America two weeks ago.

There did not appear to be a single organiser of the event but that did not stop people from moving to the centre of the crowd to tell of their experiences and feelings.

A huge crowd of about 2,000 demonstrated in Stoke Park in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

20-year-old Amber-Valetta Nunes spoke to the crowd saying: “Go to your homes and have these conversations. Silence is violence. Give them the facts that black people are killed because of racism.”

18-year-old Timothy Mukahamana, a young black man, said: “My parents came here from Zimbabwe with a suitcase full of books and great hopes and they made a success here.

“So why is my afro comb taken from me at school because they say it is a weapon. It is only my comb. I’m tired of being followed by a security guard when I go into Sports Direct.

“Enough is enough.”

And the chant was taken up by the crowd: “Enough is enough.”

The good-natured, mainly young crowd carried homemade banners and placards and chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.”

The demonstration had been posted on social media and 17-year-old Maddie Keane believed that she was the accidental instigator. She said: “I never expected this. I wanted to do my part so I posted some notes on snapchat. Someone then created a banner and I shared it on my Instagram page. I thought 30 people would show up. It is amazing how many have come to protest.”

The accidental organiser of the event, Maddie Keane, said: “I felt I needed to make a difference. One voice can change so many.”

Georgia Ross was there with her mother, Jacqui. She said: I want to change the future. Racism has no place in our generation.”

Sam Millington, 18, said: “I feel it’s my culture that needs to change.”

A 19-year-old black man from Italy, who did not wish to give his name, said: “I’m here because there is injustice and this may cause a change.”

The enthusiastic spirit of the crowd was not dampened by the rain as the demonstration came back down the High Street after speeches in Stoke Park.

Most wore masks but there was no social distancing evident on the march or in the park. This drew bitter condemnation on social media. One comment said: “A few thousand people marching together or shoving up against the police is way above small rule-breaking. We clapped for 10 weeks for key workers, now seemingly we just don’t care!”

The march finished at the bottom of the High Street.

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Responses to Young People March Through Guildford To Show ‘Black Lives Matter’

  1. Tay-Jarl Andessen Reply

    June 7, 2020 at 9:53 am

    While I understand that peaceful protest is part of a healthy democracy, I cannot help but think in light of the current situation, an alternative to gathering in large groups would be preferable.

    As seen in protests across the world, social distancing has not been adhered to by the majority. What happened to Mr Floyd was inexcusable and absolutely disgusting, but if there is another spike in Covid-19 cases as a result of these demonstrations, it won’t be a case of Black Lives Matter – it will be All Lives Matter.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    June 7, 2020 at 10:02 am

    In one way it’s a little disappointing that the same old problem is still there after more than 50 years. On the other hand, it’s heartening to know that there are plenty of people who care enough to shout it down.

    As for the social distancing issue, it’s a second win that the rules are being ignored. Most young people have little to fear from the virus itself and a lot to fear from their government’s destructive obsession with computer models.

  3. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 7, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    The debate has been hot over whether these protests should have taken place given the absolute need for social distancing. I for one thought that my generation in the 60s and 70s had bought about sufficient impetus to make the changes needed for this and a whole range of other issues, women’s rights, domestic violence, to name a couple. I have seen all those advances whittled away by the austerity politics of the last 10 years. Lack of legal aid, the diminution of Unions, zero-hours contracts, they all show that there is no point in having rights unless you can fight for them or rely on a government body to enforce them. So it seems we have to start again. Well done those brave individuals who attended the march but please keep safe.

  4. Sue Fox Reply

    June 8, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Congratulations to all those who marched. I too, like Peta, marched in the 60s and 70s. It was one of many reasons to march.

    I worked in the City for many years and experienced, via my BAME colleagues, many examples of discrimination. It’s so sad it still goes on. What are people so frightened of because of skin colour?

    I am lucky enough to have visited the Caribbean from the 70s onwards. There were still faded posters urging people to come to the UK to fill NHS and London Underground jobs.

    Where would we be now without the enormous contribution made by the BAME members of our society? Well done to those who marched.

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