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The Comedy of Errors

Black Lives Matter Banner Unveiled on Nottingham Council House

15 June 20 words: Ashley Carter
photos: Tom Morley

The banner was unveiled by Next Gen Movement and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Rosemary Healy

Nottingham’s ongoing fight against racism continued today with the unveiling of a new Black Lives Matter banner on Nottingham Council House.

 Next Gen Movement, the organisation responsible for arranging the recent anti-racism protests in Nottingham, were present to unveil the banner, alongside Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Rosemary Healy.

“Inequalities in our city still exist, and we still have a lot further to go to make sure that people are genuinely treated equally in both Nottingham and across the whole country,” Healy said. “It’s important to draw attention to this at this important stage, particularly when the crisis we’ve faced with coronavirus has had such a profound effect on some groups of people more than others.”

The banner represents the continuing momentum in the fight for racial equality, while serving as a constant reminder of the work still to be done.

Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, protests against racial inequality have taken place all over the world, including a 4,000-strong demonstration at Forest Recreation Ground on Sunday 7 June. The process of collective soul-searching has already seen lasting results, with Chauvin’s initial charge being upgraded to second-degree murder; the statue of slaver Edward Colston being torn down in Bristol and companies, both locally and nationally, reviewing their own histories of racial discrimination.

Prominently placed on one of the city’s most significant landmarks, the banner stands as a reminder of the mistakes of the past, the problems in the present, and the work that needs to be done to build a better future.

“This is a historical moment for Nottingham,” Janelle Brown, one of the founders of Next Gen Movement says. “As a city, we do a lot to celebrate Pride and other important events, so it’s great to see the Black Lives Matter banner there.”

 

Created by Brown, Shan Vincent and Tyla Henrique-White, Next Gen Movement was established to empower young people, fight against racism and provide a voice for Nottingham’s community.

“We created the movement after seeing such an amazing turnout at the protest. We realised that we wanted to carry on fighting for what’s right. You can see from our name that we’re focusing on the next generation, with the assistance of older people who have already been fighting for years.” Vincent says, “We’re looking at areas like employment, education, engagement and empowerment. We want to move things forward and make a permanent change.”

It’s important to make people aware that this is something we’re going to keep fighting for

The protest drew criticism online after some participants graffitied the Council House.“After the graffiti happened, it was amazing to see some of the younger protestors stay behind to clean it up,” Vincent continues, “It’s hard for anyone to say anything negative about this, because it’s come from the council – they’ve decided to put the banner up. It’s good to have a constant reminder for people, rather than just being a trend that will disappear. It’s important to make people aware that this is something we’re going to keep fighting for.”

 The moment in which a protest is accepted and acted upon by establishment groups represents the potential for real change to happen, and suggests that the fight for racial equality is starting to have an impact. As Lord Mayor Healy says, “Black Lives Matter is a very important statement for us as a council, and as a city. We need to make sure that actions come out of this.”

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