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HOT’s Claudine Eccleston prepares for tonight's event

HOT’s Claudine Eccleston prepares for tonight’s event

The time for silence has passed

Tonight, Thursday 4 June at 6.50pm, there will be a silent and socially distanced gathering at Warrior Square in respect of George Floyd, the black man in Minneapolis who was murdered on 25 May by a white police officer. The vigil is also to acknowledge the racism that is still implicit in the United Kingdom. HOT’s Erica Smith reports on the events in Hastings which have happened over the last week and encourages you to attend tonight to show there must be no space for racism in Hastings.

Queen Victoria in Warrior Square. Photo taken on 2 June by Maria Stretton

People all over the world have been horrified by the footage of the brutal murder of George Floyd. If there is any consolation for his racist murder, it is that communities across the world are taking an honest look at themselves and acknowledging that racism is still present within all our societies.

On Sunday 31 May there were two word-of-mouth events to commemorate George Floyd. One was a vigil at Warrior Square where about 30 people gathered, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and ‘took a knee’ for George Floyd for nine minutes. There was then a silent procession along the promenade to the council offices at Muriel Matters House.

A second event on Sunday was organised by musician and Isolation Station Hastings presenter Lily Kim  at 4pm at Goat Ledge.

Powerful protest

Lily Kim and Patsy Solanki also attended the Black Lives Matter protest in London on Wednesday 3 June. Patsy said, “We went up as allies to support a friend in London. Every black person was teamed up with a white buddy. The police presence was minimal and it was one of the most moving and powerful protests that I have ever attended.”

I spoke to HOT street style contributor Claudine Eccleston about the event organised tonight. She said, “The plan is to gather at Warrior Square at 6.50pm for a silent vigil, but supporters are asked to bring placards and something with them to make a noise. There will then be a socially distanced, peaceful walk to Bottle Alley where we will begin to make a noise at 7pm. The time for silence has passed.”

Keeping safe

Claudine also reminded attendees to bring face coverings and gloves – and ear protectors if you are worried about the sound levels. “This protest is about being safe – let’s not forget that we are not all safe. Remember that when America sneezes, Britain catches the cold.”

Claudine added, “I want to thank some of the young white people who have been so frank on social media and are questioning their own behaviour and seeing the links.”

Black Lives Matter, Hastings: Thursday 4 June. Meet at Warrior Square by the Queen Victoria statue at 6.50pm and proceed to Bottle Alley for 7pm. Bring placards, noise-makers, face masks, gloves and ear protectors. Remember to keep two metres’ social distance. There will be a ‘Kneel for George Floyd.’

STOP PRESS: a Black Lives Matter event is also planned for this Sunday, 7 June at 1pm in Alexandra Park. Watch this space for details.

Protestors at the peaceful march in London yesterday (3 June) photo © Lily Kim

 

Posted 13:14 Thursday, Jun 4, 2020 In: Campaigns

2 Comments

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  1. Ray Manning

    Dear Keith,
    I’ve never served (my brother has. He was a corporal in the Engineers) but I did grow up, in London, in the 60s and, as you say, racism then was overt. Having aligned with the historic figures you mention, you must have understood the justness of the cause for which they sadly died. Again, you’re right – America has still to learn.

    However, wether or not we enhance or advance our argument, Black Lives Matter is not a plea. It’s a statement.

    Yes, British history has a place for Marx. It also has places for Drake (slave running pirate); Oliver Cromwell (the mass slaughter of the Irish would today be a war crime); and Robert Clive (responsible for the deaths by famine of millions in West Bengal).

    My point is that all societies contain dualities of good and evil, kind and cruel, beautiful and extremely ugly. It’s complicated. We know that. We, the British, are a complicated nation.

    Please be assured, no matter what is said, no one within the BLM movement is here seeking to strip out bits of British history – even if that were our intention, I don’t see how it could be achieved. The vandalisation of Churchill’s statue ( the youngsters got carried away. You’ll notice they are more disciplined now) was a tactical mistake for which the movement has paid a price.
    Let British history be what it is. But let’s tell more of it. Let’s tell all of it.

    I whole-heartedly agree! Let reason prevail and rectify the injustices. I’m glad we agree that black lives matter. On that basis, I’ll assume you misspoke in suggesting that BLM ‘prove’ to anyone that all lives matter. For, surely, wether we are intermittently raucous or not, the fact that all lives matter is a given, no matter who you are.

    Comment by Ray Manning — Monday, Jun 15, 2020 @ 15:21

  2. Keith Piggott

    As a serviceman in 1960’s racism was overt, yet I aligned myself with JFK’s stance against Gov.George Wallace’s Alabama, then with Martin Luther King’s and Bobby Kennedy’s efforts to enact long overdue legislation. They paid the price. America has not learned, its founder too owned slaves.

    Today’s new iconoclasts do not enhance or advance their nobel plea, “Black Lives Matter”. What they overlook is Britain also has a place for Karl Marx’s bust in Highgate Cemetry, can one imagine another philosopher whose well-meant words brought death to innocent millions by his ardent followers?

    Should Africa raise a statue to Zulu King Chakka, or to his loyal regiment he marched over a cliff to test their loyalty? Neither would make sense.

    Let reason prevail, expose and recitify the injustices. Black (also white) MPs are well placed to serve the cause. Of course ‘black lives matter’, so ditch the violent element and prove to we the silent majority that ALL lives matter!

    Comment by Keith Piggott — Monday, Jun 15, 2020 @ 01:37

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