IN PICTURES: Hundreds walk from Brixton to Westminster on Reparation March

reparation marchHundreds, if not thousands, of people are marching from Brixton to Downing Street today to call on reparation for the slave trade.

Banners and flags adorned the crowd, which brought Brixton Road to a standstill as it passed by.

The march coincides with Emancipation Day, remembering when the British Empire abolished slavery in 1834.

Protestors want a wider apology from the British Authorities for the slave trade. On arrival at Downing Street lter today they are due to hand in a petition calling for reparations.

reparation march





  1. I went on the Reparation march yesterday from Brixton to Downing Street which was blessed with good weather, good spirit, good unity, great purpose, good conversations, excellent health and safety. Witnessed by many waving, car horn blowing passersby on route and captured on many a smart phone. I checked for national, local and international news coverage this morning and there was none ( I wasn’t surprised but if you know differently please correct me I would appreciate it). I knew if there had been violence it would have made it in the news instantly but instead there is a clear wall of silence.
    Levi it is a clear blessing that you are here today to stand proud as British. It is always good to be clear on one’s own position in life and in your own existence. I was born here and have two wonderful children born here, a son who is at University and has on a number of occasions been stopped and searched. The most memorable was when he was coming from a school after helping young children with an animation project. My young teenage daughter well – Beyonce and Nicki Minaj and the worsening influences aren’t helping. (I cut off the tv two years ago owing to poor quality and quantity but that’s another tale). Well my children probably call themselves British and Black British because they can are they proud? Well what do shoulder shrugs mean in this instance and “I don’t know’s”? I am proud to be Black British of immediate Jamaican parents, it is the only perspective I have lived and is evidently different to the experience of the known ‘British’. I don’t know why but I have never seen the Queen as my queen and I have never seen my self as her subject but my mum does and my mum writes to her often, she got a reply once and was convinced that Elizabeth of the Windsors’ had written to her.
    As someone that has had a mentally ill mother who has been in the mental health system for 38 exhausting years since I was 9. I am left with only one option after the frustrations, complaints and community response and pressure which is to try to resettle my mother back to Jamaica where at least there is some vestige of happiness to bring some peace for her troubled spirit. It is not a solution, it simply has come to this. I feel it no longer right to go for the section (which again has divided our family) where last time approximately 6 white police officers (there has never been the use of black police officers, male or female in all these years and we are talking North London where there is a very very large Black community) had to force entry and drag her out of her flat bare footed and put her in the ambulance. Always a traumatic and public display. Last time before that it was a social worker and Ambulance chase along the high road for all to see. As she is approaching 70 to me this is now a health risk. Sadly my father who died a few years back because he felt he should stay here rather than return to the land he loved (which back then he felt could not provide him with real prospects) stayed to continue his access to what he thought was better health care after dedicating over 32 years of his UK life for his family here and back home, to British Rail (whilst enduring ‘British’ racism physically, psychologically and economically), to his church and community….well as I said , he died here. He was a very proud Jamaican man who had begun to teach himself about his African history before he lost his sight. Again his health was exacerbated by a less than empathetic and less than holistic practicing NHS care system during his poor physical and psychological/emotional decline in health. My family’s experience shares similarities to many I’m sure. We do not hold a victim mentality but a (I quote my father) “Get on with it” mentality to this very day.
    Today with justified entitlement to reparation and choice of repatriation (which actually clearly should have been formalised in parliament in the 1800’s by the said likes of Wilberforce and others, why didn’t he and they ? etc) and with very carefully considered differentiated, respectable and dignified reparation and repatriation packages we know that overnight the entire society will undergo a startling change, it will be a difficult change for some but it will be startling and progressive and healthy. I also know that in this case that it would make a difference to the quality of my own family’s existence and would be conducive to the very survival of my family and the generations of my family to come (unless of course that is the very thing that the rest of society fears). The UK through its finding of its courage and honour for moral, ethical, and financial reparation can redress with its European counterparts, the sheer scale of unimaginable but known atrocities that had been delivered to not only our enslaved forefathers, foremothers, fore-daughters, fore-sons, fore-children of each of our families (and personally I have located names of my great grandparents parents ) but on their children’s descendants here in the UK abducted from their homes and families on the African continent.
    What will it take to finally undergo the transformation that mankind, especially the world’s next and future generations are surely now deserving of ? It will take our continued resilience stay on the side of right. Right is might.
    I covered a few classes before the holiday who were studying the Holocaust, I extended into the horrors/genocide/holocaust that our African and Caribbean families underwent over 200 years ago, which is really my grandparents parents and their grandparents. I asked the students – age ranging from 13 to 15 if they felt our society was still capable and responsible in breeding and nurturing the behaviours of the Hitlers’, Leopolds’, Elizabeth’s, and so many male/females current, through the centuries and around the globe…and each time I asked…they ALL said yes or put up their hands to indicate yes. Every single one. I asked them what they were going to do about this legacy that they are inheriting and not one of them could give an answer other than the odd student who felt nothing could be done or that they couldn’t be blamed for what some of their families ancestors did. I asked many of them how much they knew of their own families histories? Or what the meaning of their own names stood for and it was a concern? What appears clear is that we as the African Diaspora descendents have always taken up the mantle of and for our part of what we have to do and (from what I saw at the march) so too are a number of our proud children . In school that day as a mother, a Black mother I was hurt that a young white male student with a great friendly personality told me that he hated being white. It wasn’t because of us as Black people that he felt this way. It was that what little he knew was based on the way he had been taught and the conflict it put him in with his friends who are Black produced a chronic ‘victimized mentality’. I told him (and this was how I felt. As a mother I would not want that for any child. I told him, “We don’t want You to hate yourself, we’ve never asked for that. Abhor what has been done and demand for a better education about pre-colonial Africa and the Caribbean Islands of the Commonwealth and Black history studies taught by practitioners who know the correct authentic historians, sources and perspectives. I when he left the room I remember thinking “Out of the mouth of babes?” I felt he identified and highlighted exactly what the core issue is. This young white British boy cannot say for himself that he is proud to be British which is why Levi, I say you are very blessed indeed to be able to say so yourself.
    On a final note – My mum wants to go home and I can’t help her and nor can my family. So we’re just sat waiting really for Reparation! Repatriation and total 21st Century emancipation for all those who must be returned or given at the very least the choice, no matter what each of our decisions will be. So I will be proud to be British when the day comes that Britain is proud and honoured to be me – African and of the Diaspora – and that is what I, my children and my children’s’ children will understand if we or they choose to stay here in Britain what ‘Proud to be British’ is.

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