The Northcote’s landlady, Tuesday Roberts, answered a plea from residents for a safe space to protest, while observing social distancing.
Drawing out two-metre-apart chalk squares, East Londoners knelt to show solidarity in the pub’s courtyard garden, while listening to speakers Paris Octave Cullen, aged 10, and Tom Taylor, the Labour and trade union campaigner.
Taylor argued that, as well as protesting for the terrible murder of George Floyd, we need to acknowledge that institutional racism is present in the UK, with the attack of key worker Belly Mujinga and refusal to publish a full BAME report on Covid-19 both recent examples.
But, he said, there are indications of change in positive communities like Leyton and Leytonstone, and the fact that we were all so keen to spring into action with just a couple of hours’ notice. This shows people want, and will work for, change.
Paris simply stood up and said, loudly and clearly, that people shouldn’t be treated differently because of the colour of their skin: the message is that we are all equal.
“A massive thank you to all of those that came,” says landlady Tuesday. “I wish we could have stayed and danced. I wish we could have had everyone there, as I know they would’ve wanted to be. With a special thanks to Kate for making it an actual event.”