Peaceful protest in Sidmouth to challenge racism and celebrate diversity

A peaceful protest celebrating diversity and challenging racism will take place on Sidmouth seafront on Saturday, November 7.

The Gathering Against Racism event expects to attract several hundreds of supporters, in a bid to raise public awareness across East Devon.

The organisers said the event will focus on celebrating ‘the achievements and initiatives’ of local groups and individuals standing up to racism in 2020.

Those taking part on the day will be Black Lives Matter (BLM) groups from Sidmouth, Axminster and Exeter, Diversity in Devon, Stand Up to Racism Exeter, Gather Against Racism, and Maia Thomas and Helen Matthew, a mixed race Sidmouth resident.

Tsara Smith, the Rambler Against Racism, who has walked through Mid Devon and East Devon carrying her stand up to racism message, will complete the final leg of her tour at Saturday’s event, between 2pm and 3pm.

Paul Ryder, co-organiser, said: “We want to continue the momentum inspired by the events in the summer in Sidmouth, Axminster and Exeter and initiatives of a number of groups and individuals across Exeter and East Devon. We mark these achievements.”

He added: “We celebrate diversity, stand against racism and gather to demonstrate our solidarity and commitment to continuing this conversation within our families, with our friends, in our workplaces and in our communities.”

Helen Mathew, said: “We have joined a conversation bearing witness to the lived experience of locals from black and ethnic communities.

“We are learning about ourselves, our own bias, a fuller, more rounded history and how we can do things better.

“We continue to raise awareness and challenge racism in our community.”

The Sidmouth BLM group said it has attracted almost 350 members of all ages from the local community who share thoughts, exchange ideas and learn from one another, in a bid to have ‘a really positive impact’ on the community.

The group said: “This is replicated in Axminster and Exeter, and there are plans to extend the network across all communities in East Devon.”

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