Newcastle Protests in Solidarity with BLM – Talking With Sarah Mennear

Tits Upon Tyne are coming together in solidarity with the BAME community in Newcastle. Protests supporting Black Lives Matter (ran by independent individuals in support of the charity) have been popping up all over the UK this week. On the 6th June, the people of Newcastle will be protesting SAFELY from 1pm to 6pm, following social distancing guidelines.

The protest at Grey’s Monument will be focusing on paying respect to George Floyd and those who have suffered from police brutality. The stance against racism will be a PEACEFUL ACT OF KNEELING whilst socially distanced.

Sarah Manner, a young black woman from the North East, spoke to us in an effort to ensure people attend this protest for the right reasons! Working with her, TUT has put together the information you need if you are attending that will benefit your own and other’s safety!

BLACK LIVES MATTER HAVE MOVED ALL OF THEIR EVENTS ONLINE MEANING THE PROTESTS ARE COORDINATED BY INDEPENDENT GROUPS/INDIVIDUALS!

Link to the protest event page HERE

Link to the online event page HERE

NOTE: If you are in a household with friends or family at high risk of COVID, please take their position into consideration. Vulnerable people must not be exposed to those potentially carrying the virus.

WHEN PROTESTING DURING COVID-19, PLEASE FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  • Wear a face covering
  • Wear eye protection to prevent injury
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Don’t yell; use signs & noise makers instead
  • Stick to a small group
  • Keep 6 feet from other groups

SARAH MENNEAR:

On May 25th we watched as George Floyd was unjustly murdered by the American police department. After his death we saw a shift in the movement and an eruption happened all over America and the world. Everyone will be aware that this is not the first time it’s happened but this time the demand for change is not only stronger it’s desperate and I believe it’s only right not only stand by the protestors in America but we ask for change in our own country as well. Year after year we’ve watched black people be disproportionately affected by a system that wasn’t built to protect us and we tell ourselves that we will remember those it has effected, pray it’s not us, and hope that a change is coming but now is the time to be the change. 


We must change the conservation about racism in the U.K. because we are not yet innocent. We have to remember it took 9 years for Stephen Lawrence’s murderers to be labelled guilty and even then the case that started in 1993 still went on until 2018. We have to remember Mark Duggan and he never received justice from the law or the British media. The very media that refused to say Belly Mujinga’s name and won’t prosecute or condemn the man who spat on her during this pandemic yet when someone spits at a white man just days later, he’s immediately imprisoned. We need to acknowledge the fact that Britain was paying reparations to slave owners up until 2015 but will put off teaching slavery in schools and even when they do, it’s mostly American slavery we learn about and they barely even touch the fact that we colonised half the world. We have to start having conversations about race with the people we know and love and the people that surround us so we can start to challenge the micro-aggressions black people face everyday. We need blacks lives to be normalised and humanised so we become more than just stereotypes and accessories for white pleasure and the only way we can do this is by being able to openly discuss with each other black history and culture. Personally, I found growing up in the north east hard because I learnt very little about my culture in school and didn’t meet any other black people until I was about 13 years old. This left me feeling very lost and it obviously impacted how the other kids acted with me because they didn’t understand me. Now we have access to the internet and more resources from black creators that we can use to change the conversation and make sure no more young children have to feel lost and confused. We can change the way we see race in Britain if we start speaking up and speaking out now.


Join us at 1pm on the 6th of June at Greys Monument to take a stand and part in our socially distanced peaceful protest to show solidarity for black lives all around the world. We’ll all meet together at 1pm and there will be some speakers there to share their story with us. Afterwards, we will share a minutes silence and then together we will take a knee in solidarity in respect and solidarity for the movement and we will listen to and amplify the voices of the BAME community. We will be making sure everyone is taking part in social distancing and will try our best to make sure everyone has masks and gloves but please bring your own if you have them. If you’re unable to come to our peaceful protest due to either being vulnerable or living with someone vulnerable etc then you can still actively help the cause online by signing petitions or donating money to charities and bail funds (if you have the means).


BLACK LIVES MATTER

A list of resources for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement

Why should white people join the protests? (online or in person)

By Natalie Greener

As a white female running a platform like Tits Upon Tyne, it is so imperative to me that we protest for the right reasons. White people are allowed to be angry, feel guilty and want to help in the fight for black lives matter. However, this is not our narrative and we shouldn’t take control. This is not about us. The protests should be focusing on black individuals and their experiences – white people should follow them in solidarity against racism. It is so important that we get on board with this movement and give those marginalised a voice. To be silent is a privilege. If you are getting tired of seeing people rise up against racism, imagine how those who experience it every day of their lives feel.

If you are a white person attending the protests, please remember why you are there. Showing unity in such a trying time is vital and solidarity has shown us that change is possible. After this week passes and the trend online has died down, the protests have fizzled out and signs are back in the cupboard, don’t give in the fight in support of Black Lives Matter. Anyone doing anything right now helps but for us privileged, once we stop talking about injustices, they don’t just go away. It is still very real for those in the BAME community. We owe it to this movement to educate, talk, learn, share, challenge and enforce what we are preaching right now. This is not a trend… this is people’s lives!

Empathy is vital in these trying times – we must understand that some of us may not feel comfortable attending protests in person. This is absolutely fine! I will not be attending as I am currently living under my parents’ roof and with my Dad being diabetic, I must respect my parents not being comfortable with me being in large crowds. However, I am still doing my bit and I will be spending Saturday taking part in the online protest. If I was living alone in my student house, I would be at the monument on the 6th with others. If you are like me but don’t know what to do instead of the protests, there are loads of things you can do online to help out and show your solidarity.

BLACK LIVES MATTER – petitions literally can take SECONDS!

If you are attending the protests against racism (not organised by BLM), PLEASE be safe and wear the necessary equipment and head gear to prevent the spread of COVID. If you have spare masks, bring them a long and let’s ensure we make a change safely without endangering your fellow protestors.

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