Monday, July 27, 2020

Black Lives Matter - Croydon

Some more Black Lives Matter-themed graffiti/street art, this time from the skatepark in Wandle Park in Croydon.

'Stop killin' the mandem'

the River Wandle (more of a stream at this stage) in Wandle Park

Croydon has seen a number of Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks, including this one at Park Hill on 13 June:

photo by @jamieaudsley
See previously:

More local Black History:

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Black Lives Matter in South London- 2 months on

Two months after the police killing of George Floyd in  Minneapolis on May 25th, the global wave of  Black Lives Matters protests continues to make an impact around the world. This is a quick overview of the last eight weeks in South London, where the current phase of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK started in Peckham on 30 May 2020 with hundreds of people marching across the Common and down Rye Lane.

Peckham Rye, 30 May 2020 (photo by @katyG_LSL)
Probably the largest demonstration so far took place a week later on Sunday 7 June, with a huge crowd gathering by the American Embassy in Battersea before crossing over Vauxhall Bridge and marching on to Whitehall. It was one of the biggest demonstrations seen in London in recent years, perhaps in the region of 50,000 or more.  On the way there I saw streams of people walking towards it from different parts of London due to the limited Covid 19 public transport. 

Vauxhall Bridge, 7 June 2020
A feature of the protests has been the wearing of face masks and the predominance of home made cardboard placards, well everybody seems to have a cardboard box to hand in these days of endless deliveries due to shop closures. But there were some banners to be seen, and I was pleased to see a proud Millwall anti-fascists banner at Vauxhall.

Millwall anti-fascists, Vauxhall Bridge

It seems that most local parks and public spaces have had some kind of Black Lives Matter gathering, usually 100-200 people taking the knee - a sign of the reach of the movement beyond the usual places where protest happens. I mean it's not every day (or decade for the that matter) that there is a protest in Hilly Fields or Telegraph Hill Park.

Lewisham Police Station, 3 June 2020 (photo by Mark Thompson)

Hilly Fields, 13 June 2020
(photo by Melissa Jacques full report at EastLondonLines)

Burgess Park, 14 June 2020

Ladywell Fields, 27 June (photo from SUTR)

Telegraph Hill Park, 4 July 2020 (photo from @avocadamn)

Protests have also taken place in Mountsfield Park (Catford) and outside the Deptford Lounge, among other places.

Firefighters take the knee at Lewisham Fire Station (photo from @itslukecharles, 3 June 2020)
Black Lives Matters signs can be seen in many local houses, following the recent trend for NHS rainbow window signs. Here's a few examples from around SE14.

There's also some BLM/anti-racist street art and graffiti. 

'Black Lives Matter', Waldram Park Road, Forest Hill

'Fight racism, build unity' - Thames path, Greenwich peninsula

'Racists still not welcome' - Thames path, Greenwich peninsula
What will happen next remains to be seen, in terms of  public protests all movements have ebbs and flows in their momentum. But away from the streets, this phase has kicked of a widespread questioning in workplaces, homes, sports clubs etc. There is a sense that something has to change and that is not going away. 

See also:

More local Black History:

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Covid-19 South London Street Art, volume 2

Earlier on in the pandemic I did a post on Covid-19 street art in South London. In that first month of the lockdown it was all rainbows and chalk messages in support of NHS workers. Here's another round up of picture from May and June 2020.

Expressions of support for the NHS are still to be seen in plenty of places, including some fine rainbows.

'big up the NHS' - Lewisham town centre

Redecorated tank, off Mandela Way SE1

Deptford Cinema, Deptford Broadway

New Cross House, Laurie Grove SE14

NHS workers and patient on New Cross House by @deanio_x and @seen_k26 - perhaps reflecting on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities and workers

Other key workers have also got some appreciation, such as bus drivers:

Bus stop, Honor Oak Estate

The weekly Thursday nights 'clap for carers' with people cheering from their doorsteps came to an end after 10 weeks with the first signs of the lockdown easing. There was a bit of an emerging strain between community celebration and state-sponsored show of national unity (e.g. politicians advertising their participation) - 'clapping is not enough' as a placard in New Cross put it.  Still the mass support shown for the National Health Service will make  it politically difficult to cut funding to it in the economic downturn ahead. 'Thank you NHS' doesn't mean 'thank you Government', as a billboard in Lewisham's Molesworth Street graphically illustrated:

'RIP 151++ key workers' 'Clapping is not enough'  -
Lewisham Way outside Goldsmiths

'Support NHS Staff ', 'SSP [statutory sick pay] for care home workers'
Lewisham Way outside Goldsmiths

These banners in Lewisham town centre urged people not to forget those at risk of Covid locked up in prisons and immigration detention centres:

'Social distancing in detention centres is impossible. Confirmed Covid-18 cases. Non one should fear hospital in risk of deportation'

A rainbow by artmongers has brightened up the railway bridge that on Aspinall Road, off Drakefell Road:

Of course the rainbow is also an LGBT+ symbol, as noted by whoever stencilled this message and some symbols on the railway bridge rainbow. On local social media forums there were some objections to this re-appropriation of the rainbow, but hey it's all part of the ongoing dialogue of street art.

The history of the LGBT+ rainbow flag, Aspinall Road bridge

South London Trans People,  Aspinall Road bridge

Some graffiti just reminded people not to get too carried away by fear... 

'it'll be OK', Lewisham Way

Love>Fear, Deptford

Fear is the Virus, Douglas Way, SE8

The community mutual aid that sprung up early in the pandemic has continued, in some cases becoming a highly organised system of food deliveries, as well as picking up prescriptions etc.  

'Nunhead Knocks' community support