Bristol’s former Lord Mayor and artist Cleo Lake welcomed the filling of a ‘political vacuum’ in Bristol by a black woman and black lives matter activist. The Green Councillor welcomed the arrival of the statue of Jen Reid to replace the toppled Edward Colston.
“The journey of black female activism and movement building is nearly always one of struggle but it is also the foundation of resistance. To see the plinth now graced by a black woman activist is a reminder of how people can fill the vacuum left by mainstream politicians.”
“Black women have been disproportionately affected by austerity and have been dying on the front-line fighting the coronavirus. But black women are also leading the movement for reparations for historic enslavement and contemporary inequalities and injustice. I have asked the Mayor to lobby the government on this issue – we need a Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice to atone for and make financial reparations for the obscenity of the Transatlantic Traffic on Enslaved Africans. I hope he will commit to support this campaign and help us bring it to the government. Following in the footsteps of Islington Council and other councils in the US.’
Cleo added that she agreed with Mayor Marvin Rees’ position that the long term future of the plinth should be decided by the people of Bristol.
“I expect the statue will be a temporary intervention and it is great to hear that should the statue be sold then the money raised will in part go towards the CARGO education project set to be rolled out in Bristol secondary schools this September.”
Lake, who is a long-term activist with Countering Colston continued:
“Even as Lord Mayor I was sometimes made to feel that my life didn’t matter and it was a difficult road to navigate at times.
“I hope the statue of Jen Reid will be a daily reminder of black women’s leadership of political change but also the role they play every day in vital roles in our social services and being at the centre of so many homes and communities.”