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Where There Are Liberals Pulling Down Statues, There Are Black Folk Who Have Been Ignored for Years

It was once said if London and Brighton were to have a love child, it would be called Bristol. A metropolitan city with a touch of hustle against the backdrop of multicoloured houses decorating the river side, period mansions with hilly views in Clifton, and enough graffiti to indicate to passersby “this is not vandalism, it’s art”. Bristol, a trendy city with plenty of arts, culture and resistance. It has been home to many artists, activists and thinkers, like Alfread Fagon, Jamaican poet and playwright who wrote some of his most known works in the city, and others like Green Party councillor and former Lord Mayor, Cleo Lake, who campaigns for fairer criminal justice policies. 

Over the summer of 2020 while people in cities across the world were protesting in the wake of the execution of George Floyd, Bristol was no different and protesters took to the city centre in true rebel fashion. The most memorable thing to come from that day is the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston that towered the over the city centre as a bleak reminder of Bristol’s inseparable relationship with the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the power and influence old money still has in Bristol. This toppling was monumental and rightly reinvigorated conversations around decolonisation and anti-racism and made them mainstream. This act also solidified Bristol’s position as a progressive city, harkening back to The St Paul’s Riots, The Bristol Bus Boycott, and The Arnolfini Disability Protest. But Bristol is also the place that just five years ago was found to be the most segregated core city, according to a Runnymede report. Bristol Council has been exposed as being institutionally racist, and allegations of racism by officers in the Avon and Somerset Police Force have only increased in recent years, with them infamously tasering 63-year-old Judah Adunbi, their own race relations advisor, as he entered his own home.