Leicester in Protest, Leicester in Lockdown
Wednesday 16 September 2020, 4.00pm - 8.00pm (online event)
The massive Leicester Black Lives Matter protest in June, and Leicester’s unique lockdown extension due to pandemic outbreaks in July 2020, exposed the mythos of a multicultural success story of a city, which historically covers over hideous forms of labour exploitation, racialised gaps, and BAME inequalities.
The protest and lockdown revealed polarised discourses and racist scapegoating targeting minority and migrant communities, and hostility towards those who interrogate the politics of the city, both in explicit acts and in their very being.
This online symposium invites civil society actors, protest organisers, and new political formations to join academics from the University of Leicester, and examine the protest and the lockdown, focusing on the following issues:
- The involvement of young people: we ask what further support mechanisms may become present for leadership emergence in the anti-racist protest movement and civil society organisations in Leicester.
- The impact of the pandemic on BAME communities in the city and the responses taken by the city council and the UK government.
- The politics of the July lockdown and the media and public discourses of blame and racism against Leicester's minority, ethnic and migrant communities.
- The labour conditions for food and garment factory workers in Leicester and the inescapable fact that workers’ health was sacrificed in the name of profit with dire consequences for the city’s population.
- The debate surrounding physical protest organisation during the global pandemic and issues regarding surveillance, tracing apps, and data protection on digital platforms.
- The organisation of committed, daily anti-racist resistance provoked by racism and xenophobia, which the pandemic intensified, yet was always residual in the institutional and public structures of Leicester’s sociopolitical and economic life.
Claudia Webbe, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Leicester East, will kick off the event. Speakers will participate across two 2-hour panels, with the first discussing the lockdown and the second the protests in Leicester:
BLM activists, Leicester City Councillor George Cole, Sharon Anyiam, Gavin Brown, Cyrus Bryan, Paul Campbell, Raul Carstocea, Alberto Cossu, Teqeela Davidson, John Goodwin, Will Green, Athina Karatzogianni, Kenneth Lebbi, Pierre Monforte, Henrietta O'Connor, Idil Osman, Jackie Sanchez-Taylor, Zakia Shiraz, Wajeeda Yusuf, Olla Zaidoun, and others!