United in the storm

Pumpkin used at the protest in Brighton
Photo credit: Josie Good
Pumpkin used at the protest in Brighton
Photo credit: Josie Good

Braving horizontal rain and gale-force winds, a group of intrepid souls gathered at the Bandstand in Brighton on Saturday 31 October 2020, in an expression of unity in the face of the ever-increasing fragmentation of society, the divisive politics of our current government and the devastating threats to our planet.

The event brought together a number of people from Sussex and from as far away as Yorkshire and London: the 3.5%, Make Votes Matter, Women for Europe, Brighton and Hove for EU and Brighton XR Meditators. We all believe in peaceful protest and a common humanity, and we are united around the desire to save democracy, protect our planet, fight inequality and resist populism and fascism. We will go forward with our campaigns aligned and work together for a better future.

Protesters gather in the rain
Photo credit: Josie Good
Protesters gather in the rain
Photo credit: Josie Good

The plucky campaigners joined together in a dance for the trees, the seas and the earth. They had brought placards to share their messages, and they ended by singing ‘Bread and Roses’, a song that originates from a speech given by American women’s suffrage activist Helen Todd. The verses, specially adapted for the day, sought to express our common goals and included:

As we go marching, marching

We all will have our day

To save our precious freedoms

Keep tyranny at bay

Stand up for our democracy

And together we will win

Solidarity forever

Give us bread and give us roses

As we come marching, marching

We’re marching for the men

We’re marching for the children

And we’ll do it all again

We want a world that holds us

A planet that is safe

We’ll keep a watch forever

Give us bread and give us roses

Covid-19 shines a light on everything that isn’t working in Britain − on everything that needs changing for a better, collaborative future for our communities.

Protester with banner. Photo credit: Amanda Robinson
Protester with banner.
Photo credit: Amanda Robinson

During lockdown earlier this year, the world slowed down and was able to see, to feel and to listen; the planet breathed, the air improved and the animals started to re-emerge. With another lockdown about to begin, we are determined not to return to ‘normal’. Normal never was. Our pre-Covid existence was not normal. It normalised greed, inequity and depletion. We should not long to return to that situation. We have the opportunity to sew a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.

Together, sharing our common goals and aspirations for humanity, decency, equality and inclusive democracy, we are more powerful than we think. We must show our commitment to do something to forge change together. We have started. So let’s be the change we want to see in the world.

To connect with the groups that came together for this event, please follow the links: the 3.5%, Make Votes Matter, Women for Europe, Brighton and Hove for EU and Brighton XR Meditators.

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