“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

March Against Racism marchers gather in Parliament Square for rally.

What does it mean to stamp out racism? What does it look like? Is it actually possible? We are not the first generation to tackle these questions, and by the looks of it we probably won’t be the last. We are only three months into 2017, and already the year has seen numerous marches, protests and public outcries.

Brexit and Donald Trump seem to be at the crux of so many public demonstrations. Donald Trump’s inauguration was welcomed with an international protest against him and his campaign. The tensions building up in anticipation of the Brexit vote expanded to a another level following the referendum results.

People of various ethnicities marched together in positive spirits.

The focus of the tensions being on combatting a handful of -isms that many protesters feel has saturated the rhetoric of the far right: racism, sexism, fascism, nationalism, anti-semitism, classism, with a side of Xenophobia and Islamophobia.

Placards seen in the crowd marching towards Parliament Square

The March Against Racism this month saw as many as 30,000 people gather in central London to speak out against the far right conservatism they say elected Trump, saw Brexit vote to leave the EU and ignited a wave of far right politics across Europe.

People of all ages and backgrounds gathered in Parliament Square for the rally.

This is the fourth year of the March Against Racism, but Zakariya Cochrane, assistant convener for Stand Up To Racism, told The Independent, that she thinks “this year is more important than ever.”

Young woman listening intently during the rally in Parliament Square.

The marchers began at The BBC and marched a mile and a half to Parliament Square where the concluding rally was held.

Map showing the walking route of the march from Portland Place to Parliament Square.

The chant, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” could be heard throughout the crowd as drummers beat the rhythm in the background.

The rally included speakers such as Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Mozzam Begg and shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti, and a number of MPs.

Mozzam Begg | Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner.
(L to R) Catherine West, Labour MP | Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress.
Audience members chanting at the rally.

Speakers led the audience in various chants, many of which were directed towards Donald Trump and Theresa May. Chants included, “Hey! Ho! Racist Trump has got to go.” And, “Theresa May, hear us say, refugees are here to stay.”

Love Music Hate Racism Campaign.
Musical Performances by three grime rappers in partnership with Love Music Hate Racism.

The conversation continued at the Unite for Europe March on the 25th of March. This date is marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the of the treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community. The march also fell a few days prior to Article 50 being triggered this Wednesday (March 29).

Unite for Europe participants marching towards Parliament Square.
Images from the EU March.

As the saga continues to unfold, the impact of marches and public demonstrations is impending. Will political figures listen and take heed? Can we as a society reach across the aisle to tackle issues like racism? One can only hope that the best is yet to be seen.

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