BLM CODI CYMRU logo web
Abergavenny Isobel Holland 16 02 24 1

Isobel Holland

Protest location

BLM Abergavenny

Share

For me, being an ally means that I listen to black voices and I make sure that I do everything I can to improve who I am every day as a white person. It means doing things like these protests and being someone who can elevate black voices and doesn’t speak over them.Β 


The killing of George Floyd made me feel angry, distressed, and upset. It was just so shocking and just horrible. And I just kept asking myself, β€œhow could anyone ever do that and treat someone else like that”? And I thought to myself as a white person, if I’m feeling this, I can’t imagine how people, my Black friends and Black people, and people of colour in general are feeling about this. It was horrible.

I think the death of George Floyd definitely spurred something in me. Obviously, I was trying to be an ally before that, an active ally, but especially because of that incident it spurred me on to join the Black Lives Matter movement. I think that for me it was a step in the right direction and a sign that I need to be doing more as a white person to combat racism in all its forms.
So, my two friends and I (who are all white), we saw these protests going on in America and also in cities in the UK, and we thought we’d love to go to one and show our support. But because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we didn’t want to travel, we didn’t want to make people unsafe. So, we thought, why not hold our own protest one for people to go to and invite Black people to speak at the event, who are local? That way we can make sure that it’s relatively COVID friendly and people don’t have to travel far, but we can still elevate Black voices and get involved and show our support for the movement.Β 


We tried to see if people would be interested, which got an overwhelming yes. And then we thought, right, let’s do this. We contacted the police of the area to say, this is what we’re planning on doing. Just to let you know, we set up a Facebook page, we promoted it on our Instagram and on our social media. We live streamed the event and at the event we handed out flyers about Black Lives Matter and it’s linked to the UK and Wales. And then afterwards, we put some signs up that people had at the event, which stayed up for quite a while.Β 

 

The protest day was a lovely day. It was the perfect weather for it. I remember feeling quite nervous, even though all I was doing was sort of making sure that people were applying to COVID Rules and saying, this is who we’ll be speaking next. But it was an amazing feeling. I really did feel the community spirit, seeing how many people turned up, especially in a town that is predominantly white. It was just great to see that Abergavenny did have that support for Black Lives Matter and how keen people were to listen and also how keen our speakers were to speak. And they’re amazing at work that they did and the things that they said. It was so empowering. Wow.Β 


It was the first time that I had organised a protest. I had been to some in the past, I had been to extinction rebellion ones and ones on women’s issues, but this was the first time that I thought, I can’t see anyone else doing this, why don’t I be the one to do it?Β 

 

Concerning the pandemic, I would say that I understand the concerns of people who complained. It was COVID-19. But I think there was just that opportunity for it to happen that we just couldn’t pass up. And I think in a way, the Black Lives Matter protest wouldn’t have had such an outreach if it weren’t for COVID-19, because people had the time to educate themselves and they had the time to think about these things. And it was just this movement that we saw. We couldn’t just let it go. And when we had the protest, we made sure to ensure that everyone was social distancing. We handed out masks and hand sanitizer at the gates. Everyone who came, obviously it was their own individual decision to come. So, yeah, we did it as safely as we could. And I think I understand people’s concerns, but it was just such a big moment that we couldn’t pass up.

COVID was a problem, but so is racism and has been an ongoing problem too. So, I think we had to weigh those two things up.

I think any move towards antiracism is a good move, and I really hope that we can be anti racist Wales by 2030. Whether that is being overly optimistic, I’m not sure. But I think an antiracist Wales, would be one that does not allow for racism in any form whatsoever, and one that teaches about racism, that educates about racism and makes sure that any form of racism, whether it’s outright racism or more microaggressions. I think an anti-racist Wales will be a Wales that eradicates racism.Β 

I would say that Black Lives Matter does have a massive relevance in Wales. Regardless of whether maybe it’s more prevalent in America, there’s still a massive issue here. I mean, there was the case of the young boy who drowned and there was no adequate police investigation into that. There was the case of the young Somali man, I think, who came back from police custody in a very bad way and passed away later. There are these cases that we see and though they haven’t got the attention of some of the cases that have happened in America, they’re still there and we need to pay attention to them.Β 

My message would be to always stand up for what you believe in and always question your beliefs and your prejudices and listen to those around you and never be afraid to stand up for what you think is right.
No justice, no peace.

Was this resources helpful?

Disclaimer

Photo Gallery

BLM Leaders Abergavenny
BLM Leaders Abergavenny
Isobel Holland – BLM Abergavenny (3)
BLM Leaders Abergavenny
Abergavenny Isobel Holland 16 02 24 1
Isobel Holland – BLM Abergavenny (2)
BLM Leaders Abergavenny
BLM Leaders Abergavenny
BLM Leaders Abergavenny
BLM CODI CYMRU logo web

You might also like

No results found.
keyboard_arrow_up
Skip to content