Black Lives Matter – the voices behind the placards

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People from across Liverpool came together in solidarity to peacefully protest against systemic racism and the murder of George Floyd in America on 2 June, 2020 at St George’s Hall.

The demonstration had been quickly mobilised through social media and word of mouth by Fireflyfighter, a Liverpool-based group who organise events to bring justice to the Black Lives Matter movement. Powerful and emotional calls for equality inspired the large assembled crowds to take action and create the change they want to see in the world.

To collect, represent and amplify those voices the Museum of Liverpool appealed for people to donate the placards they proudly held aloft and share the stories behind them. We feature some of those stories here.

The placards have been added to our permanent collections and some went on display in the Museum of Liverpool atrium in October 2020.

Some of the placards were used once again at a socially distanced march from the Rialto, L8 to St George’s Hall on 13 June. Buildings were also lit up purple across the city centre and people ‘took the knee’ in virtual solidarity from home.

The fight for Black Lives Matter continues. How will you make a difference?

Chantelle Lunt

“The Black community has been beaten down by racism for too long. My placard is a rallying cry to my disenfranchised brothers and sisters. A reminder that our voices and our unity give us power.

I founded Merseyside Black Lives Matter Alliance as a means of taking back my power by fighting for racial equality. It is an online community and educational toolkit for the Black community and our allies to help keep up the momentum around BLM and bring about real change. My ‘Take Back Our Power’ placard has travelled up and down the country with me.

Something which I often speak about is the feeling of powerlessness experienced by Black people due to racism. My experiences as a Police Officer had left me feeling powerless. Yet, talking about racism, campaigning and fighting against systems of oppression have helped me to gain agency.”

Chantelle and Kim Johnson
Chantelle and Kim Johnson © Paul McGowan
Chantelle at Pier Head Protest
Chantelle Pier Head protest © Zak Grant

Take back our power sign

Natalie Denny

Placard with drawing of George Floyd and protest messages
Natalie’s George Floyd placard


protest crowd at St George's Hall
Natalie, back to camera, 2 June at St George’s Hall


“I don't want Black people to seek only tolerance. We need acceptance and celebration too. I cried for weeks after George Floyd was killed. I was traumatised by his death and angry at the systemic and institutional racism that allows a murder like this to happen. I needed to attend the protest to show solidarity and express the rage of living under oppressive environments that kill people that look like me just because of the colour of their skin.


My protest sign features George Floyd surrounded by the names of people who have died or been seriously injured due to police brutality in the USA and UK. The dates alongside are the day of their death/assaults. In between these names are examples of institutional racism that impacts on Black people's lives in health care, the justice system, employment sector etc.

George Floyd was a catalyst for an uprising that had been advancing for some time. George was centred in the sign to represent that but I wanted to ensure that systemic and institutional racism in the UK was not ignored. Racist systems have to be dismantled and new social solutions provided. Enough is enough.”

Natalie's sign reads:

No Justice No Peace, George Floyd, 26/05/2020

Institutional Racism

Belly Mujinga, 05/04/2020

Mzee Mohammed 13/07/2016


Eric Garner 17/07/2014

Philando Castile, 06/07/2016

School Exclusions

Sarah Reed, 11/01/2016

Police Brutality

Tony McDade, 27/05/2020


Shukri Abdi, 27/6/2019

Poor black history curriculum

Joy Gardner, 01/08/1993

Mental Health


David McAtee, 01/06/2020

Black women 5 times more likely to die in childbirth

Sandra Bland, 13/07/2015

Windrush Deportations

Julian Cole


Breonna Taylor, 13/03/2020

Stop and Search

Ahmaud Arbery, 23/02/2020

Belly Mujinga, 05/04/2020


Natalie with placard on steps of StGeorges Hall by drummers
Natalie, 13 June 2020, St George’s Hall


"My second sign, which I made for the march from L8 to St George’s Hall on 13 June is acknowledging the beauty in Black lives. They don't just matter; they inspire, improve and make the world a better place. I don't want Black people to seek only tolerance. We need acceptance and celebration too. This sign makes reference to the wonder of Black lives.

Natalie's second sign reads:









Tisian Lynskey-Wilkie

“I attended the BLM march and spoke about the health inequalities BAME mothers experience. Black Lives Matter doesn’t just relate to police brutality; racism and its affects are engrained in every aspect of our lives. It was a moment where I couldn't sit back and do nothing.

The reception I got was overwhelming and fantastic. To get more acknowledgement of the experiences of being Black in the health care system was so important. There are a myriad of issues that affect us. I hope that the Black Mum Magic project gives women a voice and we start to generate change, improving mothers and families’ experiences now and for future generations."

Tisian holding a cardboard BLM protest sign in Liverpool

Tisian holding a cardboard BLM protest sign in Liverpool
Courtesy of Tisian Lynskey-Wilkie

Tisian's BLM protest sign in Liverpool


Emily Kenwright

“We honestly couldn't believe the amount of people that came to the protest. I was genuinely expecting no more than 150 people given that there had only been 48 hours' notice prior. But to see over a thousand people united together in Liverpool to stand up for what's right was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. Renae and I feel so honoured to have been a part of such a special day, making history in our city. It’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be actively anti-racist. Continue to stand up, speak up, educate yourselves then others, support, donate, research, sign and fight. The world needs permanent systemic change and unity of the only thing that’s gonna make it work.”

Emily Kenright holding her BLM protest sign

BLM protest sign

Emily Kenright BLM protest sign

Corrin Melia

woman holding placard above her head
Corrin with her placard, ‘Scousers Stand in Solidarity. Black Lives Matter’, 2 June © Andy Teebay and Liverpool Echo


“I’m proud to come from a city that will always stand in solidarity in the face of adversity, that police brutality is NEVER okay and that Black lives have and will always matter. I was brought up within a family that made me aware from an early age that racism is something that should always be challenged no matter what.

I moved to America in 2019 for three months for work. While there I got to meet so many amazing African American people and hearing their personal stories about the daily struggles they encounter from racism/police brutality absolutely broke my heart and made me realise I have to do everything I possibly can to make sure the Black community knows that I stand in solidarity, fighting side by side with them to end racism. 

The demonstration on 2 June outside of St. George’s Hall was nothing but peaceful, powerful and so moving. I have the upmost respect for the amazing people who organised it and everyone who attended.”

Dawn Jones

dawn holding her placard and a photo of the back
Dawn with her BLM placard, with quote from James Baldwin on the reverse, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced. BLM’ 


“I had to be there because thousands wouldn’t. I had to be there because all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter! I just had to be there.

I absolutely think we all must be actively doing something, making a stand against racism. I’m still angry about things I personally witnessed in the ‘70s and ever since. Growing up in the beautiful multicultural area that is Liverpool 8 I had the best years any teenager could have, or so I thought. In reality it was plagued with systemic racism, blatant police brutality and discrimination. Nothing has changed, it’s time to show up and be there for our global family, it’s time to act!

face mask with Black Lives Matter written on it
Dawn’s facemask: ‘Black Lives Matter!’


Ella and Frances Roose

mother and daughter holding placards
Ella and her daughter Frances at the protest at St George’s Hall holding their placards, ‘Statues do not educate, they celebrate. Christopher Columbus, you are next’. ‘I am marching so my friends grow up with the same chances as me’


“I grew up in South Liverpool in both Toxteth and Wavertree, so I’ve never been far removed from a multicultural society and I think that contributed to me growing up with a strong sense of social justice. I attended the George Floyd protest with a friend and the Black Lives Matter march with a group of friends and my daughter. I felt it was important for her to understand the struggles her school friends would grow up with, and how showing your support as an ally and using your position in society to enact change is really important. 

Both marches had powerful impacts on those who attended, you could hear the pain and frustration in the speakers voice about the daily battles they face in our city; struggles we don’t notice or experience because we are white. Ending systematic racism and oppression is long overdue, I just hope that the current movement doesn’t fade and the millions of angry voices around the world are able to see and experience the equality they have been fighting so hard for.”

girl holding placard
Frances, marching from L8 to St George’s Hall


Charlie Roberts

“Yesterday I woke up and cycled round Liverpool putting up signs like these. It took a small amount of my time to realise our role in the slave trade. It’s important we know Liverpool’s history. We are a city built on the slave trade.

I decided to make these signs when I saw the protests after George Floyd's death in the US. I attended the first protest in Liverpool which got me thinking of our city's role in the slave trade. It is important to acknowledge where we had come and not shy away from this just because it may make us uncomfortable.

The signs were removed, some the next day, which was disappointing. I don't know who took them down but I do think it shows ignorance to accept facts which is one of the reasons the BLM movement is so important.”

Photograph of Charlie Roberts
Courtesy of Charlie Roberts 


BLM protest sign

BLM protest sign

Thank you so much to everyone who has come forward so far to kindly donate their placards and for very generously sharing their stories.

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