I think covering the Black Lives Matter rally in Manchester earlier this week is an experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Seeing people of every colour and from a range of communities gathered under one cause was both sobering and inspiring, as was listening to a range of speakers including community leaders, activists and poets give voice to the sense of anger, sorrow and solidarity that had enveloped many who chose to gather beneath the steps of Moss Side’s Alexandra Park on Monday evening.
The rally, organised by a student union leader following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille at the hands of police officers in the US last week, turned into a march that progressed from the inner-city South Manchester district of Hulme all the way to St Peter’s Square in the city centre, with those it passed often choosing to join the crowd of demonstrators as they went.
The event was somehow sad and uplifting at the same time. As one marcher put it;-
It feels amazing to be here, and quite emotional too, to know so many people feel the same.
Below are some of the clips I filmed for The Nubian Times both before and during the rally. Take a look, and feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on both the march and the events that have led to it… oh, and be sure to check out the powerful spoken word poem (the last video) that was delivered during the demonstration too…
The young woman below had some sharp insights on some of the wider issues contributing to the racial disadvantages in America.
Sharing some important thoughts on the need for solidarity.
See below for Hafsah Aneela Bashir’s powerful spoken word poem.
10 thoughts on “Thoughts and Images from the Manchester #BlackLivesMatter Rally”
The only way I know to look through another races eyes is looking through the eyes of Jesus. I cannot apologize for having white skin even though I have felt like I should at times. I hate injustice in any race of people but I cannot fix the issue, I can only pray God give me wisdom and insight to minister to those who are hurting, no matter the color of their skin or their heritage. Some might say, Betty, you are hiding behind the cross…and they would be right. I know no other place to hide when injustice happens. The cross tells me someday all the marches will be over, all the hate will cease, all the tears will stop, pain will be no more. This is nothing new, this race issue, it started way before slaves were brought against their will to America, and it still rages in so many countries. My heart is tired, very tired of the hate on both side, yes, it’s on both side of the fence. In my tiredness I have to hide behind the cross or I cannot appreciate the freedom that is happening all over the world concerning a soul becomes a child of God. My heart where God resides wishes I could take all the energy it takes to hold one rally and direct it toward telling people about the love of God for the whole world. I have ask myself, would Jesus march in a rally for any cause? This much I know and it is documented, He did march up Calvary Hill and He did die for the whole world and He did nothing wrong to anyone. There I go again, hiding behind the cross…
‘I cannot apologize for having white skin even though I have felt like I should at times.’ – It’s such a shame that anyone should feel that they should apologize for something that should require no apology. The variety and diversity in nature as well as humanity is one of the world’s most valuable and beautiful things. It’s such a tragedy how these differences, which ought to be cause for celebration and unity, have become, for so many, instruments of fear, suspicion, division and pain. And so, equally, I see it as such a victory whenever people choose to discard and resist this way of thinking, just as you have, and instead view those who are different from them as part of them, one common humanity. I think that was probably my favourite thing about the rally.
You know brother I have never marched against anything, except once when it came to abortions. I am still not sure those marches made that much difference but it did make me feel like I was doing something to stop abortion. When I think of Black Lives Matter I have to wonder why the Jews are not marching for their race for they are hated world wide. It burdens my heart to listen to someone put all white or German’s in the same boat. Many German’s helped Jews escape the horrible acts done, just as many whites help blacks have a better life. I listen recently to Dr. Ben Carson who reminded us all, black and white of the accomplishment blacks lives have made to this world. It grieves me that the news or groups don’t lift that up instead of constantly tearing down the opposite race for the wrong done to them. So many have risen above all the hate, you for one. I am sure you have suffered greatly at the hands of a white person, of which I am sorry but I would be just as sorry if you suffered at the hands of a black person. I noticed recently that there is dating sites that are just for black people. My goodness if a there was one site that stated it was for whites only, all hell would break loose. I want others to let me be white without the baggage that goes with being white, I don’t want to pay for what some other white people did especially long ago. I have no problem letting another race be their race, lets celebrate everyone race, the good, the bad the ugly. It sounds like that march you attended did that , tell me did they lift up any white person who made a difference in this race issue, for I can name many. What is wrong with just saying, all lives matter even though we know there is injustice done to all races. In some countries right now there are men killing women just because they are considered lower class. IN the country of Papua New Guinea, pigs are more important then women. I am telling you brother, if those who march on just one injustice would get out of their tight circle of black lives matter or white lives matter they would see how much injustice goes on all over the world. My words do not mean to offend but your site states this is a place to speak hearts, my heart is speaking. I don’t boycott stores because they pour money into abortion because that will not change hearts. It’s the heart of a women who goes for an abortion, a heart that sees no other way, a heart without hope. Beside there would be so few place to shop if a person really knew what each store or business did with their money. I must admit, I have no hope in the marches that lift up only one race…which again is why I like Dr. King and Dr. Carson, they lift up life, they lift up we are all created equal and that is the battle line, we are all created equal so all lives matter. One of my major reason for becoming a Christian was because Jesus died for all, the ground was leveled at the foot of the cross. Yep there I go again, hiding at the cross, it’s the only place I know there is unconditional love for me and that motivates me to even write these words. I don’t know you personally, you could misunderstand my words, read something into it that is not what my heart meant. I appreciate you write your heart, I hope you can appreciate my heart.
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I do, and I think it’s a wise heart. Dr King of course led many marches that were directly aimed at bringing attention to the injustices done to black people in the US at the time. I think it’s that legacy I saw continued in the march I attended, trying to draw attention to an issue that is sadly yet to be fully resolved in society so far, an issue Dr King dreamed of seeing society overcome. One of the speakers at the event was a white woman (there were speakers of black and Asian ethnic origins too, it was a real mixture, as seen from the videos above), her name is Carol Duggan, she is the aunt of a young mixed race man called Mark Duggan who was killed by police in the UK several years ago. She spoke about the systemic and societal inequalities that have contributed to some of the tragic, unjust (and unfortunately often unpublicised) loss of black lives at the hands of police in the UK and US.
She, like many of the activists I’ve come across, have marched on a number of issues including female genital mutilation, poverty, and human trafficking, alongside their involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement. I think they would say they are opposed to injustice and inequality in whatever form they encounter it.
But of course, any movement, political or otherwise, will always be limited in its reach and effectiveness, but from what I can understand, it is just this kind of marching and protest that led to women being made eligible to vote in the early part of the 20th century through the Suffragettes movement in the UK and US.
As forthright as their stance may have been I don’t believe those women who fought for the right to vote were seeking to undermine the value of male lives or voting rights by protesting against what they rightly saw as an unjust system. I think they were simply trying to help society recognise a blind spot that it had been unwilling to properly acknowledge up until that point. And I think their choosing to do so – through petitions, protests and marches – led to what history would call a positive step for society as a whole.
I think in a similar way the Black Lives Matter movement, for the most part, is aimed at bringing about a similarly positive change.
That said, I, like you, find it upsetting when people use these movements to make those not directly affected by the issues into enemies or opponents of some kind. I think this is profoundly wrong. A big part of what I most appreciated about the march I attended here in Manchester is that it did the opposite of that. As can be seen from the photos and videos I recorded, it involved people of all races, and was about affirming unity between races rather than exacerbating further divisions.
I think this is the real challenge facing society today – to confront what is a thorny and painful issue whilst not allowing those who are victims of the inequality to become alienated from those who may not have been. Because in the end, when one is afflicted by these injustices, we all are, we are all affected, knowingly and unknowingly.
I don’t have children yet, but when I do I would like them to grow up being able to appreciate both their white heritage and black heritage (my wife is white). I don’t agree with having a society divided along racial lines, I don’t agree with those who’ve been victims of these abuses demonising those who haven’t, anymore than I would agree with black people being demonised, as they often have, by the authorities commissioned to protect and serve them.
So I want to especially thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and heart openly on this – I feel we always gain something when we are able to do this, and I know on an issue like this to share one’s heart is not an easy thing to do. I greatly appreciate it. I always greatly appreciate your thoughts.
Good point about the women who marched for voting rights. I did appreciate the videos you posted from several different people,, oh and that poem by Hafsah Bashir…hit me where my heart lives. Often I am left breathless with all that is going in the world. I meet with several ladies to pray weekly, and it’s hard honestly to sometimes pray positively. We are left in tears at the evil that reigns often in this world and splashed before us in living color on every tv station and magazine. I have to revert back to the Bible to bring breath back to my old frail body. It is hope that helps me breathe again. Nothing new under the sun…thanks for commenting back with me…
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I think such heartfelt prayers have a far greater impact than we may often imagine. And I think as long as there are those like you who are compassionate enough to offer them, there will always be hope. Thank you.
Hi again, I thought I’d share this article in case you’d find it helpful. It’s from a christian magazine but tries to address some of the concerns about the Black Lives Matter movement and explain more fully its aim and reason for existing. I hope it proves helpful. Blessings.
It was a good article, one of many I have read on this issue. They all leave me with a question, what does a simple woman like me do with all this. Do I need to pick sides? I have two friends who are always trying to , “one up”, on each other concerning the little things God is showing them. Since I am usually the listener when we are together, I don’t try to outdo either one of them. So it is with black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter. I get the aim of black lives matter, in fact I get the aim on white lives matter…but brother I ask you, when will it stop? Racism is alive and well today because the devil is alive and well, and he is alive and well in both groups. There is something to be said about belonging to a group with a valid cause. And everyone has to chose which cause they want to stand on, pour their energy in, fight for. So here I am again, at the cross, not hiding behind it but choosing my cause. I finally had to stop reading certain blogs, watching certain programs just because I felt more division in their words. I cannot pick black lives matter over white lives matter, because of Jesus did not come to earth to fight these causes, He came to this earth, to seek those that were lost and the Bible says, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God so all races need a Savior. I think I will end my reply with a question. What do you want us to do about this issue of race…how would you stop the hatred that breeds on both sides. What does a simple woman like me do with all this?
Really good question. But I think you already do much of what we should all seek to – love one another. Love, I think, is as much about seeking to inhabit and understand one another’s experiences as it is anything else – Just as Jesus did when He came and inhabited the human experience. I think understanding the Black Lives Matter movement, or any other movement, can certainly be part of doing that, because it allows us to understand and empathise with one another’s differing experiences of the world and thereby build genuine community and relationship. So I guess the simplest way to sum it up would be the old Quaker saying…
‘There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.’
So, let’s keep learning about and caring about each other’s stories/experiences so we can love each other well, in so doing we dignify the worth and value of the lives we’ve each lived, the lives Jesus died in order to love and protect.
So thanks again, I do feel having the opportunity to hear your thoughts always helps me to learn more.
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