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Marching for Change: BLM protest takes place in Rochester

A sign of hope, a symbol of togetherness and an important chant for change.

The Black Lives Matter movement has captured the world in the last year and Kent is no exception.

On the anniversary of George Floyd‘s death in America, residents in Rochester gathered for a Stand Up to Racism March to pay their respects and to continue the conversation.

However, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullor, announced her resignation this morning. This is amid controversy surrounding her finances. Although, she denies this and claims her resignation has been planned for over a year.

The death of George Floyd in America was a catalyst for change with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite this, people of all ages, genders and ethnicities gathered for the same cause, a fight for racial equality throughout the community. 

Labour Councillor for Medway, Siju Adeoye, took a main role in organising the march. She said: “Yes it’s been a year, we’ve seen justice served… but we still have a long long way to go.”

Cllr Siju Adeoye (Labour), was one of the main organisers for the march.

In a moment of silence, the group took the knee in pouring rain to remember George Floyd, which proved to me a catalyst and forceful cry for change.

Even the youngest protestors, sisters 12-year-old Iris and 14-year-old Elsie Hehir, believe the younger generation are educating themselves to make a difference but admit there is still a big change to be made in society.

14-year-old Elsie Hehir was one of the youngest to take the knee.

They said: “It’s disgraceful that there hasn’t been the change we want to see.

“It proves that we’re not going to be overlooked. I think that young people especially find other ways to protest. Whether that’s on social media, because sometimes it can be hard to get to a protest when you’re so young.”

With Covid-19 regulations still in place, the gathering of 15 seemed fairly small, but passers by on the busy A2 road opposite the protest continually beeped horns in agreement.

Cllr Lola Oyewusi was also in attendance, after an unsuccessful campaign to be elected the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent.

However, her spirit was not dampened by the defeat and she insisted she will “continue to work with Police and the Justice system to create a force that better represents the diverse community in Kent and Medway.”

Cllr Lola Oyewusi (Labour) was also in attendance.

With placards high and fists in the air, the campaigners are hopeful that they can continue to make an impact and create a positive move to racial equality in Kent and beyond. 


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