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Hundreds take to the streets of Barking in Black Lives Matter protest

PUBLISHED: 18:03 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 20:48 09 June 2020

Crowds walking toward Barking Town Hall at today's Black Lives Matter protest, which attracted hundreds of people to the area. Picture: Cash Boyle

Crowds walking toward Barking Town Hall at today's Black Lives Matter protest, which attracted hundreds of people to the area. Picture: Cash Boyle

Archant

The streets of Barking were today filled with protesters, as hundreds of people marched to honour the Black Lives Matter movement.

Redbridge is holding a virtual BLM meeting tonight. Picture: Cash BoyleRedbridge is holding a virtual BLM meeting tonight. Picture: Cash Boyle

This protest — the latest in a series following the death of George Floyd — was organised by a group of local students, who want to “show the future generation to come that our skin colour isn’t an impediment to our success”.

These are the words of 19-year-old event organiser Nana Oduro, who issued a rallying cry from the steps of the town hall.

The Romford resident said: “When the hashtag fades, when the protests stop, when the social media posts fizzle out, when the news cameras find something else to cover, don’t turn your back on black lives.”

Nana was one of many on those steps; his words were followed by that of spoken word artists, a pastor and his fellow organisers.

The organisers of today's Black Lives Matter protest which took place this afternoon in Barking. Picture: Cash BoyleThe organisers of today's Black Lives Matter protest which took place this afternoon in Barking. Picture: Cash Boyle

Mary Grace said: “We shouldn’t have to prove our lives matter. We know they matter.”

American artist Hakim — who gave an impromptu speech after hearing the protest from his flat — voiced his frustration at facing “unfair attention” because of his race.

Dagenham-based pastor Yemi Adesanya said: “I can’t promise you we have the answer to racism. We don’t. Come next year this protest shouldn’t be a distant memory. Black Lives isn’t a movement, we live this every day.”

Event organiser Yatta Feika, 20, from Dagenham, remembered those who have died “as a result of the systemic racism that’s grossly ingrained into our society”.

When interviewed ahead of the peaceful protest, each organiser had one shared goal; that people really listen and really understand.

Barking’s Annine Ngesang, 19, said: “Today isn’t about going home and gratifying yourselves because you’ve come to a protest. It’s about coming here, listening to the stories, and using that information to make a change.”

Nina Ali, 20, from Dagenham, said that she is “worried” for the future generation, particularly if she were to have children.

Basildon’s Jasmine Osemwegie, 21, urged people to see that “our skin colour doesn’t make us any more violent, it doesn’t make us thugs. We’re here to live on this planet, like you guys”.

The final organiser was Dagenham’s 19-year-old Jada Hutchinson, who cited the struggles of the Windrush generation as her motivation to demand change.


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