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Bangor O Molemo Thamae 16 02 24 2

O’Molemo Thamae

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BLM Bangor

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Black Lives Matter means so much to me because there has just been such a grand awakening amongst everybody, not just amongst Black people but even white people and Asians of all age brackets. BLM is a global movement. After lots of research, I identify as a protester, somebody who protests against racism, as anti-racist, as an egalitarian. So, when I think about BLM, I see it as an affront to that system that transcends age, race, and geography, I think we are the vanguard, the people who are actually taking that system on and the continuation of the Civil Rights era which has never stopped. There hasn’t been a time when somehow the news will tell us now that we live in a post racial society, yet none of the people of colour have been told, so it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know any person who is Black, Asian or non-white who would say that we live in a post racial society.

The first protest I went to was on 13 July 2013, which was the Mzee Mohammad protest in Liverpool, the city that I studied in. And that was as a result of eight police officers holding him down in L One. To give people the L One is like being in a massive shopping mall. There were cameras on every corner and actually the whole entire story was mostly captured on camera. Somehow this young boy of 18 was murdered and nobody went to prison despite the entire ordeal being caught on camera. It is because of things like that I was brought into protesting at that stage, and even in terms of understanding my political stance, it was completely like I was a novice. I didn’t really know where I stood in the water at that point. So, as I started learning about history, started learning about politics, and ultimately how it affected me, because I was a graduate who was looking for work at that stage.

With regards to our protest here in Bangor, we had an awesome team and actually, the people who initiated it were Bangor’s local people called local Bangorians. They were white and they’d been born here. They’d actually returned home to Bangor because they lived elsewhere. They came back because of the COVID situation and as part of feeling so uncomfortable after seeing what they had seen with George Floyd’s murder, they were actually the ones who got in contact with a friend, who then got in contact with me. They asked specifically for black people of colour, to lead and they were just willing to do whatever work was involved in getting it going. Seeing the great turnout for the protest restored my faith in not only humanity but my local area and community.

People need to learn their history. America started as a British colony, which means it’s British ideology that started America. The racism that we see in America is a direct outcome from British ideology and racism and what was exported from Britain. Of course, there have been additions from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and so on, essentially, to make Black Americans experience what could be called super mutated racism. But ultimately, people need to understand at the very foundation, at the fundamental level, that it started with Britain. We talk about Wales and we’re actually not far from Penrhyn Castle, and Penrhyn Castle was built on slave money. They had six slave colonies in Jamaica. We talk about Wales again, Picton, whose image has been or Picton’s perception has been reimagined and reframed as part of a bunch of projects that have come downstream of BLM and their activities. Because, again, he not only was so involved in enslavement that he owned his own slaves, he had mistresses, he had black mistresses when he was a governor in Trinidad, executed black people, and slaves as casually as probably we have a sandwich.

On top of all the warfare that he had as a lieutenant, of course he was involved in warfare, which means that he has blood on his hands some more. These people like this are Welsh. A lot of people don’t know Thomas Jefferson, who is one of the foundational American presidents. He hails from Wales, his people from Wales. So, when Welsh people try and separate themselves from this, they need to remember that when there were Indians who were being invaded in America, the Indians, and, of course, Africans on the continent of Africa, it wasn’t that they were running away from the English or the Scottish or the Northern Irish or the Welsh. They were running away from the British. Which means that the entire British islands and everybody who is in power had a role in that.

I live in Bangor on Anglesey and I felt isolated as I was the only black kid in my entire school and racism was evident from everyone including the teachers. My very first day, I got in trouble for somehow not being fully equipped with my uniform, even though they knew it was my first day because I was the only black kid in school. I got shouted at and one kid came up to me and called me the N word and it got violent and I’m the only one that got into trouble for it. So, I realised quickly how the system works and had to prepare myself to deal with it going forward.
Watching the murder of George Floyd on social media and how much it contrasted from the national news broadcasted made me distraught and amazed. My breath was taken. I honestly had such an influx of emotions at the time that I didn’t really know how to process any of them. I had rage, of course. I was angry to see what I feel like I saw myself in that person. I feel like if anybody can watch a person die, listen to them call for their mother and think that is perfectly acceptable on any level, then there is something wrong with that person.

Whatever you feel like doing, do it! My road to becoming the leader of the George Floyd protest initially started when, like I said, I was on social media. I saw what happened on that day and for a couple of days I felt uneasy and couldn’t actually do anything. I was completely paralysed. I basically ate and slept for a couple of days because that’s just what occupied my mind. So as a result of that, I couldn’t do anything else but get into activism. And I felt like that’s the only place that my body and my essence was telling me to spend my energy. So, if you have any feelings like that, then listen to your intuition and go ahead and do something about it.
Talk to your friends. If you know that there’s somebody who’s likely to feel similar to you, talk to them about it as well. Talk to your family and see if you can at least get some support from there as well.
No justice, no peace.

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Bangor O Molemo Thamae 16 02 24 2
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