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Voices from the Black Lives Matter #Shutdown in London

07 Aug 2016

gal-dem attended the Black Lives Matter #Shutdown in Altab Ali park last Friday


Florence Watson, 23, student at Norwich University of the Arts

“I think the speakers were really good and powerful, although the section where we were split into different areas of London to discuss working together could have been a bit more organised and black-centred. There were a lot of white men who spoke – it’s like, know your place. I think I saw a lot of black women who looked like they wanted to but didn’t feel able. I don’t think that was catered to very well… We should be trying to make people feel uncomfortable. I don’t feel like we should necessarily be violent, but I want people to be pissed off by us, I want us to be in their faces; the Heathrow shutdown was really important. I grew up in Liverpool and I personally believe it’s one of the most racist cities in the country. People don’t realise because we’re up north, but there’s areas of the city that I just wouldn’t go into. Basically north Liverpool is a no-go zone if you’re black or Asian.”


Subira Wahogo, 23, student at Sussex University

“So my lecturer held a meeting about post-Brexit racism and what we can do to respond to it. For the most part it was overly intellectual and high-key unnecessary, but after a while we started talking about self-defence and how we can protect ourselves on the street. I have a small, casual feminist group of women and non-binary people who do self-defence and it was something I’d thought about. Then we also started talking about de-escalation workshops. My lecturer is the head of gender studies, and I suggested that we needed to learn how to intervene in confrontational situations and so subsequently she’s managed to get funding from the university for them. The sessions are so popular that I haven’t been able to go on one yet. Sussex has its problems, but I used to be at Oxford Brookes and that was right-wing hell.”