Over a hundred Black Lives Matter protestors “took a knee” in Nottingham last Wednesday in a demonstration against police brutality.
The rally, which took place in Market Square on June 17, saw a large group of activists go down on one knee in a show of solidarity with protests in the United States.
Protests have erupted in the United States following the death of African American man George Floyd while being taken into custody in Minneapolis on May 25 of this year.
The act of “taking a knee” has attracted controversy in the past following its use by NFL star Colin Kaepernick during the American national anthem to raise awareness of black men dying in police custody.
The Nottingham event was organised by the Next Gen Movement, a group based in the city set up to tackle institutional racism.
One of their key organisers, Tyla Henriques-White, spoke to Periscope Nottingham to set out the group’s plan of action.
Tyla said: “We want things to change, and while protest is fine, we really need to take action.
“We want to start with making changes by getting in touch with councillors, the Labour Party, as well as the community, whether it’s youth workers, mothers or teachers, and gathering all their experiences and their thoughts.
“We are putting together our strategy at the moment and we are focusing on our four Es – education, employment, empowerment and engagement.”
The Nottingham branch of the anti-hate organisation Stand Up to Racism was also present to “take the knee”.
Their chair, Leroy Grant, was delighted by the show of solidarity by Nottingham activists.
Leroy said: “When it comes to racism people are coming together.
“It’s become an international coming together, it’s not just Nottingham.
“It’s important to show solidarity because racism is here whether we like it or not.”
The demonstration also gained the support of Berridge councillor, Shugufta Quddoos.
Shugufta said: “Any issue that affects the Black community, whether it is in Nottingham or Minneapolis, it affects all of us.
“We are all connected, and when our brothers and sisters suffer anywhere in the world, we have to stand in solidarity with their suffering.”
Despite being one of the only councillors to attend the demonstration, Shugufta made it clear that Nottingham City Council stands strongly behind the BLM and the Next Gen Movement.
“Racism is alive and kicking in our institutions, it is time for change and it is time for action.”