Solidarity with Christchurch & Bahr Academy. No hate in our beautiful city. (Counter-demonstration against the North East Patriots)

Good Afternoon

Anya Cook UCU National Executive

Speaking today for Newcastle Unites

I would like to start with a lyric from Akala – he’s a rapper, poet, author, political activist:

“Racism, sexism and nationality

Just to me it all seems like insanity

Why must I rob you of your humanity

To feel good about mine?”

Why must I rob you of your humanity to feel good about mine?

Good question.

The answer is that someone who takes pleasure in traducing, in reducing, in diminishing others doesn’t really feel good about themselves. They might get a temporary kick but ….

Confident, secure, content people are just that. They are confident, they are secure and they are content with and in themselves. And therefore they have no need to take pleasure in oppressing other people.

And the stories they tell themselves and tell each other’s to justify their actions are just that, stories.

And stories are narratives.

So, if you like your rap a bit more 1980s hip hop, a bit more Salt ‘n’ Pepa …

“Let’s talk ‘narratives’ baby

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things

And the bad things that may be”

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things.

Good things – the more in common – that’s the easy bit.

All the bad things – racism, sexism, fascism, discrimination – that’s not so easy.

Sometimes it’s easier to avoid challenge, to avoid difficult conversations – but we must challenge.

If we ignore, if we avoid challenge, if we avoid difficult conversations then as Maya Angelou warned, we risk ending up with people who have no opinion.

People without opinion don’t make change happen

If we don’t talk about the bad things and the good things, we will never shift parameters of understanding.

So. Newcastle Unites. What unites us is a stand against all forms of discrimination.

Newcastle Unites believes that a community that plays together, stays together.

We stand for the people of Newcastle be they of faith or of no faith, be they of left or of right, be they of binary or non-binary and in Newcastle especially, there is no Black OR White – there is only Black AND White all the way!

Newcastle Unites counters narratives.

We counter the narratives of fascism, of racism, of the far right,

And then we write our own narratives. We write our own stories of shared humanity, of giving kindness, in helping our neighbours.

We are telling stories of positive engagement and change and our actions evidence our intentions.

Narratives. Action. Our 2-pronged attack to create change for the better.

So. If we are going to shift parameters of understanding we need to make changes and those changes start with each and every one of us.

The first change is the acceptance of making a change.

And with learning to be confident, to be secure, to be content with ourselves.

As Akala said:

“The only way we can ever change anything

Is to look in the mirror and find no enemy

The only way we can ever change anything

Look in the mirror and find no enemy



Video of speech on link below:

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