People from across the city came together on 2 & 13 June outside of St. George’s Hall to peacefully protest against racism and the murder of George Floyd. 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 represent and amplify those voices the Museum of Liverpool appealed for people to donate their placards and stories. We feature some of those stories here. See them on display in the Museum of Liverpool Atrium from 7 October.
“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.”
“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 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. In between these names are examples of institutional racism. George Floyd was a catalyst for an uprising that had been advancing for some time. Racist systems have to be dismantled and new social solutions provided. Enough is enough.”
“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."
“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. 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.”
“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.”
“You could hear the pain and frustration in the speakers’ voices about the daily battles they face in our city; struggles we don’t notice or experience because we are white. I attended the George Floyd protest with a friend, and the Black Lives Matter march with a group of friends and my daughter, Frances. 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 to enact change is incredibly important.”
“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!”
“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.”