In June, the world was taken over by a massive movement that really questioned our morality. People took to the streets to raise their voice against systemic racism and police brutality. After the brutal murder of George Floyd, the angry reaction from the black community was needed. Anti-racists individuals marched and pulled down the sculptures and statues of slave traders, colonizers, oppressors, and makers of racist policies. From Christopher Columbus to Confederate General Robert E. Lee – nobody was shown any mercy.
Amongst many others, the 17th century English slave trader and the former Member of Parliament Edward Colston’s sculpture was dragged and disrespected through the streets of Bristol. This bronze sculpture stood there since 1895 but now it has been replaced by someone who actually deserves it. After the removal of that sculpture, the place has been replaced by Jen Reid a protestor of Black Lives Matter. It was installed in the early Wednesday morning before the authorities could arrive.
Reid attended the march on June 7 and was amongst the few protesters who removed Colston’s statue and helped throw it in the river. During this time, a photo was taken of her where she had her fist held high – there is something powerful about that picture. Anyway, Quinn saw the picture and immediately contacted Reid through social media and convinced her to work on a project with her.
Image Source - Google | Image by Revolt TV
Reid said: "When I was stood there on the plinth, and raised my arm in a Black Power salute, it was totally spontaneous. I didn't even think about it. It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me. This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me."
The statue of Colson has been retrieved by the Bristol City Council. The good news is that Mayor Marvin Rees has confirmed the plans to put this statue on display in a museum along with other famous photos from the Black Lives Matter protest.
There is no confirmation whether Reid’s statue would remain installed in that place because both sides of the aisle have condemned the act. In fact, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has even called this act criminal. Sir Keir Starmer of the Labor Party said that it was completely wrong – although he did agree that Colston’s statue should’ve been removed long ago.
Colston transported more than 100,000 slaves from West Africa. So, it's about time people honor public spaces with the status of people like Reid and not actual criminals like Colston.
If you haven't joined the good cause then join them and show your valuable support to make an actual difference in the lives of oppressed and the oppressors. Have you picked your Black Lives Matter T-Shirt from Amazon? Get it here now. It comes in all sizes and colors! March on the streets for a cause that will put you on the right side of history.