I welcome the Black Lives Matter protest in Ludlow on Friday

The Black Lives Matter movement is one of the most important of our times. We have too often paid lip service to equality. Too many of us have ticked the boxes without addressing the underlying issues of discrimination and disadvantage.

On Friday evening, a Black Lives Matter protest, it might be better called a gathering, will be held in Linney Park under strict social distancing rules. The organisers have worked hard to create a three metre social distanced event.

We cannot ignore Black Lives Matter just because we live in a town that is not racially diverse. We cannot ignore Black Lives Matter because the protest has erupted when we, and much of the world, is under lockdown restrictions.

The truth is that we still have huge inequalities in our society.

The death of George Floyd thousands of miles away has caused anger amongst people who face discrimination. The worldwide protests give an opportunity to make further strides to eradicate racism and disadvantage from our society for all time. We must take that opportunity.

The Covid-19 epidemic isn’t a great time to hold a protest, given all the restrictions. But there is no good time for a protest. They happen when they happen.

The Black Lives Matter protest in Ludlow is a well organised event with social distancing. I have been impressed by the effort the organisers have put into ensuring the event will be safe using three metre social distancing on the biggest space available in town. Participants will wear face coverings.

Linney Park is the best outdoor location for this protest given our difficult times.

The most influential protests catch the mood of the moment. They drive forward change bit by bit. Occasionally, jump by jump. We must take every opportunity that we can to drive discrimination and disadvantage out of our society.

Ludlow is part of the bigger world. Not isolated from it. We must make a statement on the big issues of the time. Our town always has always done that.

The time for a Black Lives Matter protest in Ludlow is now. I support the protest. It will be peaceful.

We are not going to see any of the scenes we have seen in cities. Where social distancing was ignored. Where criminal damage was the intent of some protesters. Where violence became for a small minority a means to their ends.

This will be Ludlow speaking out for our community and communities around the world. Ours will only be a small voice in the global protest. But lots of small voices matter. Black Lives Matter.

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