Protester sparks Black Lives Matter conversation in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 16:14 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:14 09 June 2020

Welwyn Garden City protest by Coronation Fountain for Black Lives Matter. Picture: Alex Rivers

Welwyn Garden City protest by Coronation Fountain for Black Lives Matter. Picture: Alex Rivers

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A Welwyn Garden City protester has created a stir in the town after her stand for Black Lives Matter on Monday.

Kelly Griffiths protesting by the Welwyn Garden City fountain today. Picture: Christopher SmartKelly Griffiths protesting by the Welwyn Garden City fountain today. Picture: Christopher Smart

Kelly Griffiths sat in front of the Coronation Fountain in the town centre for eight hours and 46 minutes, a symbol of the eight minutes and 46 seconds that George Floyd took to die after he told a white police officer – who was kneeling on his neck – that he couldn’t breathe in Minneapolis, US on May 25.

The 30-year-old white woman said she generally had positive interactions but did receive abuse from a small minority while she sat in silence with her hands taped.

“I would say 20 per cent was negative with five per cent people of shouting from a van and calling me an idiot,” Kelly told the WHT after she broke her silence when the protest ended.

But she pointed out that it was nothing compared to the indifference with which a family, who were black and protesting, were treated.

Kelly explained that someone came up and said “all lives matter” in response to her black lives matter signs and then turned to the family and said nothing and smiled at the two children.

She added that this was repeated, often, with people engaging with her but failing to talk to the family who were sitting beside her.

The family-of-four told her: “The fact that you’re here in solidarity is enough [but] we’ve had these arguments again and again.”

However, the actress turned shopworker – since theatres shut and her tour in South America was cancelled – did point out that is not up to black people to educate white people on racism.

“It’s made so easy to understand racism and oppression,” she added, “There are so many books and films.”

In response to people who are outraged at the protests under lockdown when most people cannot see their families, Kelly said: “I understand its frustrating. We’ve been oppressed for a few months but they’ve had it their entire lives.”

She is worried about the pandemic but explained that she thinks racism is more dangerous.

“It would be great if everyone was two metres apart and had masks and sanitiser.”

Her protest also raised over £500 for the Black Lives Matter movement through justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kelly-griffiths-blm.


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