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Cardiff Seun Seriki 16 02 24 2

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BLM Cardiff

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Being a black person, it is not saying that Black Lives Matter more than anyone else’s, it is simply saying they need to matter in terms of the way that black people are treated in the UK. It is a systemic issue that’s been around for so long, not just in America, in the UK too. The UK is not innocent when it comes to racism and it is about shedding light on that and exposing racial injustices especially from the result of the circumstances around George Floyd’s death which sparked huge protests across the UK and around the world. It was around the Pandemic; people were stuck inside. People were on their phones and were not really permitted to interact outside. So, when that video surfaced, it was mind-blowing. It felt like people were forced to actually watch that horrible video. And it felt like people were finally waking up to the terrible impact of racism. Not just black, but white people, too. Racism is real, and we need to do something about it. But it shouldn’t have to take George Floyd being murdered for that to happen.

I have never organised a protest before. This was my first and I had no experience of organising protests. At the time of the killing of George Floyd, I felt like a lot of people of colour, not just in Wales and the whole UK, but globally felt super helpless and terrible, but I wanted to do something, but not really knowing what to do. Then the opportunity came when I saw the advert that Selena had posted on Facebook, saying she wanted to do something. So, I decided I was going to be a part of it, then I joined in.
Holding this protest felt amazing. It was so empowering to be there that day. We didn’t expect that many people to turn up. And once everyone started sharing their stories and their experiences, it was wonderful. Everyone had something to say about their experiences. It was really beautiful.

I would say the biggest experience of racism I had was my time in university. These were what I spoke about throughout the protest, probably in my second year of university, I was walking down the street with my white friend at the time. It was by Woodville Road, which was an area heavily populated by students in Cardiff. My friend and I were walking home, and then a group of young guys walked past the opposite way, and one of them made monkey noises at me with the rest joining in. It was horrible. And my friend at the time didn’t acknowledge what happened. I was left with the situation feeling like it didn’t really happen. I felt like I was going crazy and it was horrible, and I internalised it for so long.

I have been in Cardiff for six years now, and I remember from when I first moved here to now, there has definitely been a shift in the energy, especially when people talk about race. I see more black people and people of other ethnicities around. People feel safer. They want to speak up about things and I think it has really made a difference knowing the importance of people’s lives including black people’s lives in Wales and across the UK.

I would say if you feel strongly or passionate about something that is deeply wrong and you want to have your say about it, then go and do it. You don’t need experience; you don’t need anything. If you feel passionate about something, then go and speak up and people will listen.
No justice, no peace.

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