Steyning Black Lives Matter Protest RallyBlack Lives Matter march took place on Saturday 13th June in Steyning, May Langan tells us all about it. A local Facebook Group: Stand Up To Racism - Steyning and Surrounding Villages has been set up, please join the group if you can.
It all started the weekend prior. Following days watching the news unfold and learning more about racism in our society, I began asking around to see if a BLM protest was going on locally. It wasn’t, and that was a shame to me, for this seemed a necessary and unmissable opportunity to make change happen, even in our small, quiet town.
On the Monday I informed the authorities and put together an online flyer. At that point it was just me, eager to see change and hopeful that others would join me in making it happen.
I was not left disappointed and within hours, people were getting in touch with me, offering encouragement and volunteering to help with all sorts from crowd control, road crossings, printing flyers and making placards.
Somebody put me in touch with Simon Zec, a local poet, and I was pleased when he agreed he would say some words. From there it began to take shape.Maggie Moss and Naomi Hine came forward shortly after, offering to speak at the protest to represent black voices. The proceedings began at Steyning Memorial Playing Field. I spoke first about how and why we cannot ignore racism exists, even in our local area today.
10 year old Maggie Moss spoke next, holding up a document which detailed the ownership of her great, great, great, great grandfather as a slave (attached, he is number 334 on the inventory).
She then read: ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou.
Naomi Hine then read out a letter to Steyning from her mother,
We then chanted in solidarity ‘BLack Lives Matter’. There was a procession through the town, where attendees raised their placards and banners, which was silent and peaceful.
The procession followed the High Street and ended at Fletchers Croft. There, Simon Zec shared some words and a poem he had written. He finished by inviting protesters to kneel for 8 minutes 46 seconds. People then dispersed in peaceful contemplation.
The turn out was good (estimated 200-500) and ranged from young to old, babies to pensioners. Those who could not attend but wanted to, supported from their own homes.
There were many who voiced afterwards that they found it moving and inspiring.
It was powerful and beautiful.
It was peaceful with careful attention to social distancing.
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