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

The Birmingham Tab spoke to students participating in the upcoming protests

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. Yesterday, demonstrations occurred in the UK also, protesting the systematic discrimination and racism towards black communities in both America, the UK, and around the world.

With the incident sparking global outrage, Birmingham is the latest city to organise protests in response to the escalating racial violence. Demonstrations in Birmingham have been organised for this Wednesday at 1pm in Selly Oak Park and Thursday at 4pm in Victoria Square, in line with major demonstrations in Manchester, London and Cardiff.

The Birmingham Tab spoke to some of the students rallying around for the cause. As Joshua Williams, a recent Birmingham graduate, commented, “it shouldn’t take tragedy upon tragedy for black lives to matter.”


He continued, stating that “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.”

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 1% of the University professors being black in 2020.

“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.”

The Birmingham Tab also spoke to Rebecca Tayler Edwards, a final year psychology student helping to organise the Selly Oak demonstration. She commented that “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.

“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.

“Join us over the next two days, starting with a community sit-in in Selly Park, Birmingham. Wear RED in solidarity, bring masks, bring posters, bring your voices!”

There are also separate demonstrations planned in Birmingham’s Victoria Square on Thursday.

These demonstrations are scheduled after a weekend of protests around the UK, especially in London where protestors gathered at Trafalgar Square and blocked the road to the US embassy.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Here’s how to stay safe while attending a socially distanced protest

If you’re white, gay and don’t support Black Lives Matter you’re a hypocrite

PSA: Your performative activism and Instagram chains aren’t helping anyone