Well Barry, what can I say, you did our Black Lives Matter protest beautifully – socially distanced, properly, and peacefully…respect.
Seeing the scores of rallying residents gather on King Square to show their solidarity with our brave Barrians who have fought, both slyly subtle, and boldly blatant, racism all their lives was instantly inspiring and undoubtedly uplifting.
For me, the most powerful moment came when our respected activist and Advocate Hilary Brown asked all who had experienced any form of racism in the Vale of Glamorgan to step to the front – and every single, black attendee did.
Read that again.
Solid proof that there is still a long way to go in the fight for ensuring Black Lives Matter – and as much as white lives too, before someone starts that abhorrent All Lives Matter mantra.
Shame that the keyboard warriors who furiously typed their nonsense at me all week, after I issued my rallying cry, weren’t there wasn’t it.
Well, they wouldn’t be would they, as they are adamant that their white, mostly middle-aged, mostly middle-class, lived-in experience shows them that there is zilch racism here – go figure.
And that, of course, they don’t personally know any racists. Good for them. Although the irony of them arguing with me on my Facebook feed demanding crossly to know who I was ‘banging my drum’ too was kind of telling too.
And if anyone wants to delete me, on the Socials, or the Streets, because of it, then I’m good with that too. It’s not politics, it’s human decency. For Christs Sake, when did ending Racism become a debate –
Truth be told, I’ve always been an activist – end of. For me, that means I just cannot help fight for something fundamentally flawed to change. I’ve never been motivated by a need for money, power, or fame, just driven slightly mad by some injustice, cruelty, or unfairness.
So much so that I swiftly shift into full-on mode, fuelled by hyper focus, and a furious drive to make a real difference.
To be fair, I’ve nearly always been helped by like-minded campaigners, and marvellous mentors, along the way. Thank you.
And, yes, on occasion, I have been richly recognised with awards and accolades for the blood, sweat and tears, I have so often shed in striving to see the change I want made.
So what, recognition is really rewarding and hugely humbling, but is more the icing on the cake than the mix that makes it happen, trust me.
It hasn’t always been easy either – phewww, I could tell you some truly treacherous tales. But it has always, always, always, been worth it.
Admittedly, most of my activism has been firmly focused in my LGBTQ+ life. I’ve always been happy to use my writing skills to help promote worthy local causes.
And I have also battled, behind the scenes, against injustice, cruelty, and unfairness.
Sometimes you just have to keep it on the low, stay on track, and crack on quietly, to get the right result.
Other times, you need to scream strongly from the rooftops to make your voice heard – and that is exactly what I am going to do now.
I am going to visibly stand up and say enough is enough as this pivotal moment in history tries to finally right some of those racist wrongs suffered so severely.
And make the future a fairer, more equitable, and kinder place, for our future generations.
I’ve always been non-racist of course, that is a given. But now I am actively anti-racist, and will be protesting peacefully, signing petitions, rocking up to many a meeting, taking the knee, firing off prose to politicians, sorting out my Socials, so I see a truer picture.
And speaking very vocally where I can – through my bold Blog, my other activism actions, or just whenever I see a wrong that needs to be righted.
Shout Out to all my black friends and family too. Please help me educate and inform myself – I’m here to learn as much as I can.
I’ve started with Black History Documentaries already but I know I need to find out so much more.
So please keep me in the loop as I strive to become a powerful and vocal Ally within Barry, and beyond.
I totally get that staying silent, standing by, or just sitting at home, is not the answer that’s needed now – real action, real activism, real visibility, and real change is.
Come join me.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.