Four hundred people converged on Plumstead Common on Sunday for Plumstead Kids’ Walk Against Racism.
The march was organised by local mums in response to the police killing of George Floyd in America, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The mood of the carefully socially-distanced gathering was positive and peaceful, in contrast to the scenes of chaos in Waterloo the day before, as right-wing protesters and statue-defenders clashed with police.
The multiracial gathering, made up primarily of local families, marched around the perimeter of Plumstead Common, chanting ‘We’re marching for peace/No racism please!’ and ‘When black lives matter/All lives matter’ as car drivers tooted and honked their support.
Homemade banners carried slogans such as ‘You can’t enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues’ and ‘We’re not trying to start a race war – we’re trying to end one!’
One young girl held a placard saying, ‘Mummy says black is beautiful – and so am I.
Organiser Helen Valentine said: “Like so many people, I felt angry and in despair at the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others.
“I could not understand why there was so much silence within the local community and people I knew.
“Everyone may have been feeling the same way that I was, but we were all doing it behind closed doors. The silence was deafening.
“We had no idea how many people would turn out, especially in the pandemic, but I was excited and overwhelmed with just how many people came along to support us.”
Fellow organiser Massy Spencer said: “I felt like crying when I looked around at the start of the walk at so many different types of people who had taken the time to turn up. It is so empowering to be able to turn our anger into a positive like this.”
Isabelle Knight, who walked with her family including children Zac, nine and Coralie, four, said: “Having the opportunity to talk to our children about Black Lives Matter, and to involve them in a community effort to show that we stand against racism, was important.
“The walk was a peaceful and inclusive way to do it.”
The organisers are looking to hold future community action events. Anybody wishing to learn more, or to offer help and support, can visit #greenwichkidsagainstracism on Instagram for more details.
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