Basingstoke Unites Against Racism (BUAR) was born to change the headlines and unsettle the silence around racism that has continued to marginalise black people.
How it begun
My partner and I were watching the first memorial service of George Floyd. We’d made a special effort to finish our tasks for the day early so we could join in the service. I finally settled for leaning on the kitchen island.
Jojo, on the other hand, stood in front of the sofa, not sitting either and I thought nothing of it initially. As the service proceeded, I noted how STILL and SILENT he was and through the singing echoing from the speakers I could feel every ounce of sorrow and deep sadness he was feeling. The stroke of the cheek later to wipe a tear, I had to remember this moment and so I pulled out my phone standing just a few feet away, recorded those minutes in which I, myself was lost.
I was uncertain whether to hug him or to leave him be. I was uncertain of my own emotions but one thing I was certain of, we both knew, this could easily, possibly have been either ONE OF US or our children, father, uncle, you name it. He was still upstanding for most of the service and before it ended, the seed was already planted in me, it simply had to flourish and bear fruit. I needn’t finish the words and he was already in tune and so we begun!
First, a peaceful protest to organise but before that we set off to one of the protests in London. We made the journey and it was worthwhile. In the coming days, I will be on and off the phone and on emails for hours, now with an additional set of stunning and supportive gents. Ayóbami and Martin were stardom from beginning and we are privileged to have them on the team. The ‘honorary’ supporters are also very much treasured and so Basingstoke Unites Against Racism was officially born and christened on 9th June 2020 at the War Memorial Park.
The Basingstoke BAME Inquiry was launched at this event. Local MP, Maria Miller spearheaded a detailed inquiry, the report of which was published in December 2020.