Young UK Black Lives Matters protestors tell us why it’s so important to them

‘We need to educate our country about racism and economic injustice’

After the tragic murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in the US state of Minnesota last Thursday, Black Lives Matter protests have erupted around America. Since then demonstrations have occurred in the UK also, protesting the systematic discrimination and racism towards black communities in both America, the UK, and around the world.

Protestors around the UK have protested in Hyde Park and in Birmingham today with many more protests scheduled for this upcoming weekend.

People in the UK have also latched the movement onto justice for Belly Mujinga, a rail worker who was spat on at Victoria Station by a member of the public with COVID-19.  She died in April and her case was subsequently dropped after a lack of evidence.

The Tab spoke to four young people participating in the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the UK.

‘We need to educate our country about racism and economic injustice’

Trey Campbell-Simon spoke to The Tab about his experience of protesting and why it is so important. Trey attended the London weekend protests and he plans to protest again on 7 June. “I enjoy going to protests, making my voice heard among other activists about issues that we are passionate about, the Black Lives Matter protest which was for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Belly Mujinga, was peaceful,” he told The Tab.

“We marched from Trafalgar Square to the US embassy where we chanted all the names of the innocent black people that have died at the hands of American police and took a knee for George Floyd.”

Trey highlighted the importance of the protests, adding: “Protests are of vital importance because it allows an aggrieved community of any colour to be heard, we need to educate our country about racism, economic injustice, war abroad and show that we have a voice.”


“The Great Nelson Mandela said ‘education is the most powerful weapon in which you can use to change the world’ and slowly but surely that is what I and my fellow activists aspire to do.”

‘The more people get involved, the more their voices will be heard and the quicker the change will come about’

Fresher Kobisha Kalamohan is attending the Black Lives Matter protest on 6 June in Parliament Square, London. “This movement is incredibly important because it’s something that shouldn’t have to exist in the first place,” Kobisha said.

“The fact that we live in a society which has progressed so far in so many aspects except the ability to treat black people without being systematically racist is why it’s important.

“Treating another human being equally is a basic human right. But instead innocent black lives are being taken without given a single thought, like their life has no value. The main reason it’s important: it’s a matter of life and death for black people.”

Scenes from London Protests

Kobisha continued to mention the importance of the protests, adding: “People need to get involved because that’s the only way change will happen. It has been 56 years since the Civil Rights act has been passed and to this day, black people are constantly victim to systematic racism. They have tried so hard to have their voices heard and have only been ignored. The more people get involved, the more their voices will be heard and the quicker the change will come about.”

‘It shouldn’t take tragedy upon tragedy for black lives to matter’

Josh Williams, a graduate from the University of Birmingham, participated in the demonstrations in Birmingham on Wednesday and highlighted why the protests are needed. “If you want to be an ally – listen to us, educate yourself and join us in our fight against systemic violence. And if your activism is just centred around white bodies, you are part of the problem,” he said.

“It shouldn’t take tragedy upon tragedy for black lives to matter.”

Josh highlighted why the Black Lives Matter movement is just as directly relevant for students at UoB, as well in the wider UK: “We’ve got the ‘BAME’ attainment gap and have fewer than one per cent of the University professors being black in 2020.”

Josh at Wednesday’s demonstration

Josh says this movement refers to all black lives: “This isn’t some black lives matter. This all black lives matter. Black women matter. Black trans folk matter. Black queer people matter. Disabled Black people matter. Black children matter. All Black Lives Matter.”

‘Birmingham can either remain silent or speak up’

Rebecca Tayler Edwards is a final year psychology student who helped to organise the Selly Oak demonstration in Birmingham on 3 June. “For too long, the UK has ignored us when we speak of the violence against our BAME communities. This is not an American pandemic. This is global. This is systematic,” she said.

Birmingham Black Lives Matter demonstration on 3 June

Rebecca continued: “We refuse to feel helpless as yet another one of us is murdered without any repercussions. So we can either speak in as one voice or not at all. Birmingham can either remain silent or speak up.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘Birmingham can either remain silent or speak up’: meet the UoB students rallying for Black Lives Matter’

All Lives Matter is trash and invalidates the Black Lives Matter movement

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