by Charlotte Williams
In a series that proposes how society could change for the better in response to Covid-19, Charlotte Williams interviews anti-racist activists across Wales to reflect on how the lockdown period amplified public consciousness about racial inequality in an extraordinary way, and what needs to be done to ensure that this translates into meaningful action.
In the midst of a pandemic that has to date taken thousands of lives in Wales, and disrupted the life pattern of every citizen so significantly, it is difficult to imagine that at some stage it will be over. Perhaps, when all this is history we will look back and comment on how unprepared we all were, on how radically our lifestyles, our daily routines, our workplace, our working culture, language and terminology and our relationships changed during the pandemic and be heard to say ‘Things were never quite the same again’. Nostalgia has a funny way of reinventing the past, but it just might be that we will cast this moment in history as a turning point in addressing racial inequality in Wales. And this may well be the result of an (un)fortunate coincidence.
Through the prisms of their Covid bubbles, the world looked on at the footage of George Floyd’s murder, when for eight minutes and forty-six seconds a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s gasp ‘I can’t breathe’. Something terrible had happened. Something we had seen far too many times before but which the Covid-pause captured and amplified in the public consciousness sparking the biggest protest in US history and galvanising protesters world-wide under the banner Black Lives Matter.Sign in to read more
Charlotte Williams OBE, is an academic, a writer and activist. She holds an Honorary Professor appointment at Bangor University and is Honorary Fellow at both Glyndŵr University and University of South Wales. She is author of titles including A Tolerant Nation? Revisiting Ethnic Diversity in a Devolved Wales and Sugar and Slate, and is Chair of the Ministerial Working Group ‘Communities, Contributions and Cynefin: Black Asian and Minority Ethnicities in the new curriculum’. #BLM