Bristol Stand Up to Racism (SUtR) held a small demo yesterday (July 14) riding the wave of anti-racist sentiment now sweeping the country.
Organised at short notice, Wednesday’s demo drew a crowd of only nine people to hold placards and hang a banner over the Fountain Steps in the city centre.
Demo organiser Huw Williams, of Bristol SUtR, explained how the demo was called in response to the racist abuse England footballers Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho received after the national squad’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final last week.
‘We wanted to make a mark that we’re opposed to that, horrified by it, but within the context of a wider problem of racism in the country.’
Huw, a social worker, spoke to TBA of the links between deprivation and the rise of racist ideas and wants to see more done to address the root causes of racism.
“In that atmosphere, racist ideas can really fester. But also resistance can.”
Some fear that the government’s post-covid economic recovery programme will bring a return of austerity policies and the deprivation they cause.
‘Black and white need to come together and unite, because if we are divided, this government, the people at the top, will run a coach and horses through us’ said Huw.
‘I think there is a coming onslaught on people’s pay, conditions, services, because of Covid – they’ll want us to pay.’
‘I’m a social worker so you see it all the time, the cuts to the services. And in that atmosphere racist ideas can really fester. But also resistance can, and so we want to be part of that, and we take great inspiration from Black Lives Matter movement in the States, internationally, and certainly here in this city.’
Wednesday’s demo concluded with participants taking the knee for one minute.
Bristol has seen a recent spate of racist attacks, with two young girls violently assaulted in St Georges Park on July 2, and police reports of similar incidents in Easton, Redfield and again in St Georges.
Bristol SUtR held a public outreach stall in St Georges Park following the attack there, and continue to work to combat racism in Bristol.
Find out more about Bristol Stand Up to Racism here.