People

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Activists from all over London and all walks of life have been involved with this project. Everyone has contributed their own unique memories that together build the story of
London Against Racism.

Click the names to hear from the storytellers.

Shaukat Khan

“I believe I must do whatever is important to do. If I have to fight racism, then I have to be more practical and not just vocal.”

Liz Fekete

“A lot of anti-racism is about dealing with people’s pain and sorrow, particularly if you’re dealing with things around deaths in police custody….so to be somewhere where it’s a feeling of victory is nice.”

Julie Begum

“One of the things about East London is that it is…a place where people from different parts of the country, but also different parts of the world, different parts of Europe, can come and just fit in much more easily.”

Carol Grimes

“You need to take part. You need to fully be in life, and to not be afraid to say ‘hey, this is wrong’. Even if you risk somebody looking at you in the eye and telling you different. …
Otherwise, it’s a bit of a wuss of a life, isn’t it?”

Dan Jones

“I was involved a lot in the trades council, local trade union organisation here, and we did quite a lot of stuff in that period of quite violent episodes with the fascist attacks on the
Bengali community…”

Dave Welsh

“There are various ways in which we might respond to comments, racist comments. One of them is the more direct, another one is the kind of just questioning that person and trying to kind of just slightly unsettle them in their conviction. You know, and for me that’s worked
better.”

Lucy Whitman

“Looking back I am very proud of all it…at the time it felt as if it was all quite ephemeral, and so the fact that 35 years later people are asking about it, that  would have surprised me.”

Syd Shelton

“I really do believe that you can assist people as a photographer – you are expressing a point of view.”

John Sorrell

“You have to make a choice that you’re gonna be anti-racist…I see racism on virtually a daily basis, that I am continually challenging, even now. Even after all these years.”

Ulrike Schmidt

“I got involved with Amnesty when I was sixteen years old. There was a Chilean writer and singer/songwriter coming to my home town … He had been a political prisoner, in prison by Pinochet, for several years… And after the concert I basically followed the Amnesty group
together with the performer to the nearest pub.”

Kevin Blowe

“People who say that they speak for the community are almost certainly lying – people are quite capable of speaking for themselves.”

Jasbir Singh

“The New Cross massacre happened… And we organised two coaches down from Sheffield to come down to that, and various different immigration marches … So I got involved in all that kind of work as well. And basically race politics then absorbed me completely.”

Claire Hamburger

“I sometimes think it was completely pointless and I don’t know what we were doing and we were all mad, you know, and then other times I think bloody hell, that was good!”

Jenny Bourne

“The police were more frightening than the fascists in all these occasions, cos you never got near the fascists. So after that, we decided to organise as women…because we didn’t have our own stewards, because you could get very easily isolated in those situations.”

Roger Huddle

“We saw the importance of not just the music, but the colour, the badges, the slogans, the banners, the newspaper, the sense of freedom, the sense of anarchy, the sense of a fight not just about racism, but against the system itself.”

Ted Parker

“I was approached by this guy Ronnie Kasrils, who said ‘You’ve always been very vocal about opposition to racism, would you be prepared to go undercover to South Africa?’

Hear more from the interviewees in the Timeline, Audio and Film sections of the site.

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