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What has brought you here?

November 8, 2018

I attended a meeting of Stand Up To Racism two days ago in Swansea at which we listened to some politically -committed guest speakers. I couldn’t stay long but did a couple of sketches anyway (here and at base):

After this we were asked to speak to the person nearest to us about what had made us turn up; for some reason I felt something akin to nausea and was suddenly back in Liverpool with my school friend, Owen, in 1968.

Owen was mixed race and were in the same class all the way through Primary School and some of Secondary. I have a memory of us being on school trip in the Lake-district aged 11 with Lulu’s I’m a Tiger playing on someone’s radio. He was always better than me at maths and was a great natural artist.

This all changed when we went to the ‘big school’ and I saw him being treated cruelly both by other kids and teachers. I tried to defend him but no-one would listen. He started to lash out to defend himself – even turning against me -and got into trouble, eventually getting expelled and incarcerated (last I heard he was in Risley – a remand centre with a particularly high suicide rate).

Being a helpless witness to racism as a child in Liverpool was catalyst to my resisting it ever since. I have since been enraged at large -scale, colonial racism of course (I saw it first hand in Central America, South Africa and France) but that first shock still resonates. It is more important than ever that we stand up for one -another .

Join me on the National Unity Demonstration on Saturday 17th of November in London……..


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  1. Sorry we didn’t get a chance to catch up. I hope your friend Owen made a happier life for himself in the end.
    Going to school in London in the 80s/90s I had the luxury of anti-racism being taken for granted among those I came into regular contact with, but it took decades of bitter struggle to get to that point.
    We need to keep fighting for a better future.


    • Thanks for that Sarah (I could see you in front of me but left before the end). Sadly I never could find any info on my friend. I did see him once in the centre of Liverpool & called his name but he just looked straight through me. Yes it was pretty grim in the 70’s. I like to imagine Owen was just getting through a(n understandable) fate fought with scorn/ Camus reaction and would find peace & fulfillment.


  2. Reblogged this on scribblah and commented:
    An interesting and challenging artblog from Swansea artist Patricia McKenna-Jones, with some great drawings en plein air


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