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Martha Thicket

Martha Thickett

Protest location

BLM Rhondda Cynon Taf

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It was purely accidental as there was a lockdown, even though protests were going on in Cardiff, we could not travel. I then decided to put out a post on Instagram inviting anyone who would love to come down and show support to meet outside the library to stand in solidarity. I had just turned 18 at that time and I was not expecting my peer group to show up. I knew a lot of my friends were interested in social activism, but people of all ages showed up for the protest totalling to about 200 people which was encouraging.Β  After that, I did a lot of organising with the help of other people in the community including our local Member of Parliament and the government.

As a white ally watching George Floyd’s video, it was shocking and horrific which made me reflect as I watched different Black people explaining their personal experiences.Β  Before the BLM movement, I thought I knew what is there to know as a white ally but I realised that there is always going to be something to learn and I am never going to be able to fully comprehend racism.Β 

White people uphold white supremacy and are the perpetrators of racism. So, we took a stand because we are the ones who can make a change. After all, we are the oppressors in this society. I think at the same time, it is important to elevate the voices of Black people rather than speaking over them and that was reflected in the way we organised our protests. No one felt the need to stand up and speak on behalf of people of colour because there is no way we could ever reach that level of understanding.Β 

It would be an ignorant perspective to believe that the BLM movement is an American movement and not needed in Wales. Just recently, there was an incident over in Mountain Ash, where a young Black boy drowned in a river and there were many other white children there, yet they did not face any consequences to that.

I think that is just an example of how systemic racism manifests itself everywhere, even if people do not notice it.Β 

In the Valleys, it is very easy for white people to turn a blind eye because we are not faced with it as much. In such a seemingly calm white community, it is very easy to pretend that it does not exist and by doing that, we are upholding the white supremacist system because if we are not actively taking a stand, then we are actively benefiting from it.Β 

I have always been involved in protests. My first protest was when I was six months old with my parents. They have always encouraged me to be part of social activism. Though my route was more through feminism which then led to other issues where I learned about intersectional feminism and came to terms with my privilege as a white woman, how different identities intersect with each other, and how important it is to recognise those different intersections, especially within areas where it is majorly white populated.Β 

Social media is a powerful tool that makes it easy to spread the message about protest, so leverage on that. It is equally important to listen to people in your community and challenge your expectations. There are so many stereotypes about how people feel about racism in the valleys. I was completely shocked to see how many people came and stood up for Black people’s rights. That just challenged my perception of what people are like and what they believe. I believe it is an important step in becoming a better activist.Β 

No justice, no peace.

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BLM Leaders Aberdare
BLM Leaders Aberdare
Martha Thicket – BLM Rhondda Cynon Taf (19)
Martha Thicket – BLM Rhondda Cynon Taf (16)
Martha Thicket – BLM Rhondda Cynon Taf (17)
BLM Leaders Aberdare
BLM Leaders Aberdare
Martha Thicket – BLM Rhondda Cynon Taf (21)
BLM Leaders Aberdare
BLM Leaders Aberdare
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