On Saturday 6th June, a small and safely socially distanced gathering was held in the centre of Stockport in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gained recent momentum in the USA and across the world since the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police officers.
Organised by the Methodist Church in Stockport, the group, which consisted of Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans and member of the United Reformed Church stood on the Lancashire Bridge crossing and engaged with passers- by about the reasons for the protest.
Revd Cathy Bird, leader of the Methodist Church in Stockport said, "It has been wonderful to be able to stand in solidarity today with the Black Lives Matters movement. We have been met with a lot of support – people waving from buses and clapping as they walked by and stopping to find out more. Some people who stopped wanted to say, 'all lives matter' and of course that is true, but we were able to explain that for centuries, the lives of black people have mattered less in many walks of society. We know that black people are more like to be randomly stopped by police, more likely to suffer physical and verbal abuse as a result of the colour of their skin, paid less for doing the same jobs as white people, more likely to receive unfavourable treatment when applying for jobs or using public services, and little attention has been given to the reasons behind the disproportionate numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people who have died from Covid-19. Its sad to say that in 2020, in the UK as well as in the USA, racism is still present We are here to say that for too long, in many people's thoughts, consciously and subconsciously, white lives have mattered most and that must change. The message that black lives matter is one which the UK needs to hear and we are proud to be part of spreading that message in Stockport as we seek to create a genuinely fair and inclusive society."