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I&I Talks with Revolution West Midlands

Last week I&I Presents Reasonings with Taylor Renee welcomed Revolution West Midlands to Block Radio for an exclusive takeover, you can listen here. Revolution West Midlands are a social enterprise group based in Coventry. Daniel, Marcell and Chad co-founded the organisation back in June 2020 when the BLM protests took centre stage across the media. These three young Black men are proudly working to empower, unite, educate, advocate organise and mobilise against systemic and institutional racism within the UK. A year later, I spoke with Daniel Smith to find out more about what Revolution West Midlands are up to and where they’re going.

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Tell me about Revolution West Midlands. Who are you and what are you about?

“We’re a community-based organisation and we are centered around tackling all forms of racism, whether it be systemic or instutionalised. Just helping out our community to the best of our ability. We’ve been an organisation for the best part of year, it came about during the publicisation of the Black Lives Matter movement back in June 2020. We are working alongside prominent figures and met a lot of great people and yeah! We’re looking to accomplish big things not only this year but for the duration of the forthcoming years.”

“We’ve held protests, we use our social platforms in order to educate people on various different topics centred around racism and alongside that we’re working with various Coventry City MP’s in terms of tackling food poverty in the city. We look at any opportunity to help our community to the best of our ability.”

Can you pinpoint the moment that inspired you and the other co-founders to create Revolution West Midlands?

“A lot of people seen how big the movement got as a whole towards the middle of 2020, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic passing.  Everyone saw the outburst of the Black Lives Matter movement but alongside that I’ve always looked at ways for myself to get involved in ways that I can help my local community. I’ve seen various other social movement groups in the last year so, when the opportunity came to create Revolution West Midlands, it was a no brainer from myself.”

Do you feel as if social media has played a big role in communicating the issues we have with racism? 

“The key thing with social media, as you will have seen in the midst of the movement, it’s good to publicise and get the message out there but the only downside is once it’s kinda forgotten and out of the limelight, it’s hard to reaffirm that message. With the BLM movement, a lot of people lost focus. Don’t get me wrong it was great to see people going to protests, it was great to see everyone have that particular focus but, my thoughts always were its about what you do post-protest and what you do after to establish and reaffirm a particular message.”

Talking about his interactions on Twitter during the BLM protests Daniel mentioned

“In the midst of the movement, a lot of people would come up to me uneducated on the whole situation centred around the movement. A lot of people did come to me in a respectful manner just trying to learn more, which I can respect but you know along with that you do get the few who are naïve to say the least but to this day I still get quite a bit of abuse on twitter.”

What has been Revolution West Midlands’ most impressive turnout? 

“If I had to pinpoint it to one particular thing then it would be the 4th June 2020 where myself, Chad and Marcell who are the other co-founders of revolution west midlands. We went to a BLM protest over in Birmingham. It was quite unorganized to an extent, I think the turnout was around three potentially four thousand. A lot of people were just doing their own thing so we kind of felt that the message wasn’t getting presented as best as what it could have. Long story short myself, Chad and Marcell end up leading over 2000 people on a march around Birmingham! It’s safe to say that things escalated quickly!” 

Revolution West Midlands recently took over Lush, Coventry. How did that come about?

“At one of our earlier protests, representatives from Lush actually came, you know, offering their support so we’ve always kept in close contact, and we just went from there! It was a great opportunity and we’re forever grateful to them for offering their platform to do so.”

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 “They did a Q&A session. In all fairness, the questions were quite high quality. It kind of threw me under the bus a little bit… One of the questions that stood out for me, there was one that I had to think about during the days following the takeover. I just thought…wow! It just put things into perspective but, someone asked about my experience of Black history within school. I must have thought about it for a week after, I was just like wow!”

What academic resources can you recommend for others to learn more about the Black experience?

Revolution West Midlands have compiled a resource list available to view below on their Instagram! 

Co-founder Daniel personally recommended… 

@theblackcurriculum on Instagram – “highly resourceful and extremely important”

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About RaceReni Eddo-Lodge – “incredibly insightful, I’d even go as far to say powerful”

Akala  – “a prominent and powerful figure”

You can find more resources and research over on @revolution_westmidlands Instagram page!

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Do you feel that there is a difference regarding racism within Coventry since last years BLM events?

“To an extent yes but at the same time no. the reason I say yes is because, I feel as if everything is a lot more out in the open with Britains longstanding history with racism and I think that the movement as a whole has been extremely beneficial in that sense.” 

“In terms of whether anything has changed within the city and the west midlands as a whole, I would say there are certain things that haven’t changed at all. It’s kind of heartbreaking to see. As recently as a few weeks ago where 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was killed in Birmingham. That story broke my heart. You know when a 14-year-old cant even go out and socialise with his friends without being racially murdered. I find that heart breaking.”

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“It touches back on what I said previously where its good in the moment, but a lot of people lose that particular focus. In that regard there’s still a lot of work to be done. Even within the city of Coventry there is so many things that we can accomplish.”

Keen to make appearances in Coventry’s community and working closely with MP’s, Revolution West Midlands are confident that there is certainly more to come from them.

Watch this space!

 

 

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