Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My March for Justice: by Delia Eva Good Johnson

Firstly I’d like to big up the family of Kingsley for their Strength, courage and determination to fight for justice, also the organizers and the speakers.

I went up on the pre arranged coach from London and saw many faces from the march for Smiley Culture.
The atmosphere when we arrived at the starting point in Handsworth was subdued.

I was so glad I was there to bear witness. As I watched people meeting and greeting each other as though they had met before, I thought to myself, this is something you don’t see often, but this was different: we were all there for the same reason.

The real spirit of unity was definitely in the air and we hadn’t even started the march.
At 1pm we were ready to go and we had on-lookers from the outset, clearly wondering what was going on with the vibrant scarlet KINGSLEY t-shirts and placards, not to mention those in Smiley t-shirts: there was no way people couldn’t see us.

As we followed the sound system we sang and chanted even calling out to the on- lookers to join us and some people did ,even some youths, this was so heart warming, they were hearing our cries and acting on it, for me this reinforced the meaning of unity.

When we got to the Mary Seacole house and we stood in silence for two minutes with our fists in the air, it was the most powerful feeling as I believe when we are silent and still, is when we know and feel the presence of the Most High.
When we got to the high road the police presence changed: they were stopping people from joining us and to be honest I did feel slightly uneasy about this not being on home territory but everyone stayed together and looked out for each other.

They even tried some kettling tactic but that didn’t work, Lee Jasper had us covered so to speak, I couldn't believe it when he told everyone to sit down: that showed them! We were controlling this march not them and we would not be intimidated. 

They backed off pronto. We were there in peace, so why didn’t they want it to be peaceful? Anyway we continued and the vibes and the spirit of the people could not be swayed. We chanted, sang and even laughed at times together.

We approached a beautiful religious temple where they actually provided us with juice to drink, they didn’t have to but the love they showed us as a community was second to none.

 When we got up to the police HQ there were only a few police outside. We should have been able to have the rally on the doorstep but no, obviously they did not want that. However that didn’t stop people making a point before they formed their police line. I think around this time is when  I heard a helicopter hovering, what were they looking for? Violence? We came in peace! The rally began and I was so moved when I heard the lady pastor say she wasn’t speaking from the church but calling to the people.

ALL the speakers’ speeches touched the crowd one way or another I know tears came to my eyes more than once in sorrow and strength.

I could really continue but I think I’ll finish by saying I was so proud to have walked with everyone and to meet some lovely people on this journey that I will never forget...  

By  Delia Eva Good Johnson

Photographs by  Dee Constantine-Simms