Across Orkney people of all ages took part in a Black Lives Matter event organised by the campaigning group Orkney Resists.
For the second Wednesday in a row, on 10th of June at 6pm, dozens of Orcadians marked in their own way to protest against the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police as part of Stand Up To Racism. They took photographs of what they did and posted them to the Orkney Resists Facebook page.
Protest organiser, George Vickers, said:
“We saw on TV the killing of George Floyd and we wanted to do something to protest against this. It was not just one black man who was killed, black people in the USA suffer racism every day, with dozens of unarmed black men killed by the police.
“Black lives should matter just as much as any lives, but this is not the case in the USA and the UK, that is why the protest is for #blacklivesmatter.
“We asked people to ‘take the knee’ for George Floyd because kneeling is a form of protest against racism first championed by black sports persons in the USA. It was also a form of protest where we could do on our doorstep while socially distancing.”
“Racism is a reality in the USA and in our own society. We saw that in some of the posts on Facebook when one Orkney resident called on anyone who ‘takes the knee’ for George Floyd to have a bullet put in the back of their head.
“I am pleased that the vast majority of comments were much more supportive.”
More people took part in this week’s event as news of the protest grew.
Here are the words of the some of the people who took part:
“I am a mixed race, Venezuelan/Scot and I have had experienced in Scotland, in America and nigh on anywhere else I’ve been to some sort or other of racism, and I’m not even Black! So why did I protest? For me it was to be in solidarity with my fellow people of colour, to stand up to what I think is something that society has to tackle, and to force people to think a little bit about their actions and hopefully have some empathy with the plight of these people.”
“I took part for black redemption and emancipation. I think it is just wrong and unfair that some of us live everyday in this WORLD, where the system is not set up for us to win.”
“We care about the lives of people of colour. We are infuriated by the systematic racism that still exists today. We are tired of black people being killed, most often in brutal ways, by the police.
“This does not only happen in the US but here in the UK, and we know of many racist cases here in Orkney. The seemingly ‘small’ racist actions, such as jokes, blackface and mocking, whether intentional or not, DOES contribute to the violence we see not only around the world but in the UK and Orkney too.
“Even though we got some controversial feedback as we went walking around town, we are still going to stand up to this and it makes us stronger and more resilient.”
“The riots in Minneapolis have once again highlighted the injustices of our world and the centuries of racism, oppression, discrimination, marginalisation and inequalities that continue to persist. I believe everyone, everywhere has an equal right to life and that an injustice to anyone is an injustice to us all. I believe equal rights is everyone’s responsibility and we should all make taking action to ensure the world is a an equitable place where race, ethnicity, and poverty are not barriers to opportunity.
“I hope that this protest and those across the world will raise the profile of the need for and impact of collective awareness and action everywhere – including Orkney. I hope people will be inspired to increase their awareness of the unjust world we live and take action to ensure that in the future everyone is treated equally.”
“I took part in this event because I believe that saying silent in the face of injustice is essentially the same as agreeing with it. We all need to stand up for what is right and be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Sweyn Hunter and Jenny Devlin
“We can do no better than quote Jimmy Carter (and this can be applied to our own country, as well as to the US): “People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.””
“What happened to George Floyd is indescribably awful, but the sad fact is that he is just one of many whose names we don’t know. It’s disgusting that the colour of our skin could offer us more protection than somebody who is an ethnic minority, that is why we stand in solidarity with those affected by racial violence.
“We were so pleased when we saw that this was being organised in Orkney, and we’re proud that the community we live in, stands against racial prejudice and violence. We will never truly understand it because of our privilege, but we are here to stand up, support and help amplify the voices of those affected – in the name of social justice.
“We need more people to proactively get involved in any way they can – in the name of social justice.”
“I feel it’s not for me to speak at this time beyond saying I think this is a crisis that desperately calls for greater awareness and action, even if that action is only listening, and learning.”
“If people want to understand the broader issues surrounding this horrific incident and others like it, I recommend watching the documentary 13th by Ava Du’Vernay, or look up some anti-racist resources online. There are plenty of reading lists and podcasts, etc.”
Shetland Staands Wi Black Lives Matter
Shetlanders will be holding their protest on Saturday 13th of June at 2pm. The Shetland Staands Wi Black Lives Matter page states:
Following the global response to the tragic death of George Floyd in America, Shetland is showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement with an event across Shetland on Saturday 13 June, from 2-3pm.
Respecting lockdown guidelines at all times, we ask folk across The Isles to go on a walk in their area between 2 and 3pm, passing a collection point along their way to pick up a free poster highlighting the Black Lives Matter cause. This can be worn/displayed along the rest of the walk (along with any other additional homemade placards/banners) and then taken home to be stuck up in a window, continuing to advertise the message that Shetland stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and we are in solidarity with the cause.
We encourage everyone to take a picture on their walk (incorporating the poster and/or their own banner/poster) and then upload this to the group’s social media pages, where we can build a bigger picture of this support and present a virtual protest.
This will happen in communities across Shetland, in lieu of a mass gathering/protest, to respect the current lockdown guidelines. There is no gathering place for this walk, there is no official route just one central point in each community.
For those isolating/shielding or unable to join on foot, posters can be printed off and displayed in windows/gardens and photos of them can be added to the online ‘protest’.
PLEASE JOIN US to show that SHETLAND STAANDS WI BLACK LIVES MATTER
The Orkney News is supporting the campaign for Justice for Sheku Bayoh which you can read about here: Sheku Bayoh #BlackLivesMatter