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Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Protest location

BLM Gwent Torfaen

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The first vivid memory I have is from 1968 when I was five. My siblings and I were told to go back to our own country, to get back on the banana boat. We went home and told our mother, because we lived on a cul-de-sac just across the road. My mother went into the back of the house and got out her machete. She confronted the white man who told us to go back to our own country, saying, ‘You would have to kill me and my children here today before I leave this road.’ That was my first vivid memory of racism.Β 

There were many racist incidents, but going to secondary school was another shock to my system. I was beaten more excessively, not listened to, not heard, and I was the only Black youth in my year. I got persecuted in all forms, so I had a hard upbringing through school. When I was 13, I left school and had to leave home. A year after leaving home, my friend and I were attacked by five white youths. We were holding our own when the police arrived, but my friend and I were arrested. After being held in secure homes for six months, we got put into a detention centre. There was no probation, no other people being charged but me and my friend. From that arrest, the one who was getting degraded and beaten, I was institutionalized. I was in prison at a quite rough racist time. They cut off my dreadlocks, and every Black man was called Sam. They beat you with what they used to call the Mabel, which was a part of double grazing the rubber. So, I have faced racism all through my life. I could go on about all the millions of stops and searches, they used to call it T-I-C’S, which means taking into consideration all the times when the police put false charges on you, and you had to accept it as you get beaten. I have had friends who died in police stations and in prison custody. So, I believe I know about racism; I faced it all my life.

Black Lives Matter means everything to me. It is a statement saying that until everyone’s life is valued the same with equality and justice, then nobody’s life is valued. At the moment, we focus on Black Lives Matter because my children, great grandchildren, my life, even your life is not as valued as white or other nationalities, not only within Wales, but within the world.Β 

The news of George Floyd’s tragic barbaric death had reached each us and it had an effect on everyone, not only my family, my granddaughter, my son, or my grandson. My granddaughter started making placards and my son was asking me, β€˜β€™what are we going to do’’? β€˜β€™Are we going to support’’? And I said we will meet with other family members and we will make our way and we will support Black Lives Matter through solidarity, through coming together with local community, with local people, and actually transmitting the message, no justice, no peace.

I have been a protester for 40 years since as far back in the 80s. Because of the treatment I and my siblings were enduring, not only from the police, but from the National Front and within the communities. At that time, they deemed to call it rioting. So, I was in Toxteth, Brixton, Birmingham, and I protested about the way that all our brothers and sisters were being treated. We fought as best as we could and I was a strategic leader within that struggle. I went on to work with Wolverhampton Council as a peacemaker andΒ  solution maker, looking at jobs, employment, leisure, community, things that we do today.

I will go through a couple of racist incidents. I have been stopped in Wales more than 40 times while driving and on foot. In my own house in Tourville right in front of my children, Police have come and tied my hands behind me, they sprayed me with pepper spray, hit me down with the batons, arrested me and put me into a cell in a faraway prison because the neighbour rang them saying they heard some argument. They never questioned me or my partner at the time and that is how they usually react.Β 

I would also say that since the Pandemic in 2019, I have been going through a racial discrimination case and it has not ended. The case has been going on for 3 years. If I was not steadfast in my belief in Black Lives Matter and in the equality of justice, which stands for all, then I would have given up long time. I know that with racism, the process is a rocky road. Zero tolerance to racism is mandated by law and is recognised to be needed in Wales along with Black history.Β 

My advice is this; look to our ancestors, we look to our elders and stand on their shoulders. We look to their example of resilience, of how to deal with something and be committed to the end. Look at the compassion, what others showed us, we work together and giving up is not an option. So, I would say to them, be steadfast, be strong, you are not alone, we are stronger together. Unity is strength, love is the comprehensive force that holds us together.Β 

Wales is one of the leaders in the world of anti-racism. I say that zero tolerance to racism in Wales is a dream that can be achieved. It is not a floating illusion, it is actually a reality. We are making steps, we are making leaps. When racism raises its ugly head, we are stamping down on it. Collectively, we need everybody to come together and be proactive in our zero tolerance to racism plan. It is going to be delivered by 2030 because Wales is one of the most humane nations in the world. There is no one who has brought Black History 365 mandated into law in the world in our national curriculum. So, I am very proactive in saying that the Welsh government have done a brilliant job and I am proud to be Welsh.Β 


No justice, no peace.Β 

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Chris Campbell – BLM Gwent Torfaen (5)
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