At 1pm on 7th June at the iconic Lytham Windmill, there was a gathering of Black Lives Matter protesters, meeting to stand against the systemic racism that black people experience. Protests have been seen occurring across the UK, and worldwide, in a response to the murder of George Floyd in America.
Approximately 500 people attended the event in support of Black Lives Matter, far exceeding the 209 estimate on Facebook.
The protest was peaceful, and socially distanced, with groups being careful to remain two metres apart where possible. Most of those attending also wore face masks.
Opening the protest saw one speaker highlighting that until 2015 the taxpayer has been paying off the £20m compensation given to slave owners in 1833.
One speaker, a young mixed race woman, presented the crowd with a number of statements, including; “I have never walked into a room and been the only one of my race there”; “I have never been followed by a security guard for no reason” and “I have never been worried about getting a job due to my name or my colour”. She explained that if you can say yes to any of those statements, then you benefit from white privilege and needed to use that privilege to create change, to which the mostly white crowd enthusiastically agreed.
Between speakers, antibacterial wipes were used to clean the microphone, and people remained socially distanced, following protocols to protect each other.
Other speakers included a black student nurse proudly working for an NHS hospital during the coronavirus pandemic, who stated; “the NHS doesn’t discriminate […] we all bleed the same blood […] and we need to make sure what happened in America never happens again”. There were also a number of children, and a white woman who had previously felt superior to black people, but had since changed her views and encouraged others to do the same.
Some speakers said how moved they were to see so many people out to support the movement, and that they were proud, and many were surprised at the turn out at the windmill.
At the end of the speeches, at around 3:15pm, the crowd observed an 8 minute 46 second silence, the same amount of time George Floyd spent restrained on the ground by a police officer kneeling on his neck, as he cried repeatedly “I can’t breathe”, until he died.
After this, the crowd dispersed, and headed home. They did not riot. They left no litter behind.
By Cassie Mae