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Protestors taking the knee down Stretford Road

Stand Up To Racism Manchester say they will continue to protest in Hulme park 'until racism goes'

  • A local organisation in Hulme is fighting for equality by holding weekly protests
  • Protesters take the knee, make speeches, hold posters and march in solidarity
  • They say they will continue to do so 'until racism goes' 

Stand Up to Racism Manchester have said they will continue to protest in Hulme Park every week “until racism goes”.

The organisation holds Black Lives Matter protests every Wednesday at 6pm in Hulme, after the death of George Floyd in May 2020 sparked outrage across the world.

At the protests, people take the knee, perform speeches and chants, hold posters and signs and often march in solidarity.

The protests - which have seen protester numbers of between 15 up to 50 - gets support from passers-by with drivers beeping their horns and people on foot joining in.

Organiser Karen Reissmann said: “Unless you stand up and fight against racism, racism will continue, and we believe that we have an obligation to do something about it until it stops.

“We will be here every Wednesday until racism goes.

“Whether it is someone who puts one poster up or someone who has one argument with somebody or someone who comes to one of the protests I think it’s part of saying we are not prepared to let this happen, black and white we stand together against racism.”

Actor Lamin Touray, 24, who spoke at the protest said: “What we do in Hulme is the centre of the anti-racism movement in Manchester.”

Black Lives Matter protester
BLM Protester in Hulme Park - Courtesy of Lucia Manfredi

George Floyd's death on 25 May, 2020 in Minnesota, USA sparked a global outpour for the Black Lives Matter cause and reignited the discourse that we should be having about racism.

His death gathered global media attention due the video of a police officer kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds - a video in which we hear Floyd say multiple times that he couldn’t breathe.

This outraged millions and caused global protests demanding justice for his death and the death of others.

In response to the death of George Floyd, Reissmann said: “There was a lot of anti-racism sentiment across the world before George Floyd was murdered.

“It touched a chord because we could actually see it.

“They no longer saw his as a person but saw him as someone who is black.”

Lamin added: “It made people reflect on their own experiences with racism in the UK.”

The organisers of the protest have carried out a risk assessment and made sure that everyone wears masks and observes the government's social distancing guidelines.

Hulme councillor Annette Wright said: “I support the protests.

“It’s in a prominent place and to have it every week reminds people that there are still important issues for black people which need to be addressed.

“Hulme has a very diverse community and a history of working-class people standing up for themselves to people in power.”

Protester holding sign down Stretford Road outside Hulme Park
'No to Racism, No to Trump'           Image: Lucia Manfredi 

Councillors in Hulme are working with the protestors on several projects, including working with the universities to develop the teaching of black history, and working to get a statue erected of Len Johnson, a boxer who has connections to Hulme.

They are also pressing for developers and contractors to invest directly in the local area in order to provide training and job opportunities for local people, as well as encouraging the large employers in the area to employ more local black people.

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon recently organised a social media campaign for black history month which recognised and highlighted inspirational black people who have connections to Hulme.

When asked about the importance of educating people on Black Lives Matter and racism, Lamin said: “The only way we end racism is starting with education.

“Once your schools are anti-racist and you educate the children, and you have uncomfortable conversations, and you challenge your thinking and your unconscious bias then you start to move forward to a more anti-racist society.”

Councillor Wright added: “I would encourage all young people to stand up for what they believe in. Younger people who are new to protesting are learning valuable skills as activists like organising, making speeches and coming up with new ideas each time.”

Stand Up to Racism Manchester are a part of the Stand Up to Racism organisation who have local groups all across the UK. They raise money to pay for posters and leaflets which get passed about at protests, as well as rooms for meetings so people can get together and actively do something against inequality.

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