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Lest we forget – the story and lessons of the Race Riots in Barry of 1919

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Communities

(SOLD OUT) Grow Social Capital is partnering with Barry Town Council and community members to mark over 100 years since the 1919 race riots in Barry on Sunday October 24th at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery. The event shares the stories of the victims, even heroes, and wider events of the 1919 race riots.

‘Lest we forget’ is a special commemorative event to reflect, learn and grow from the experience.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

Spanish philosopher George Santayana.

Over a hundred years ago, in 1919, Barry, along with other dock towns in Liverpool, Cardiff, and Newport witnessed race riots. Driven by high unemployment, insecurity and a fear of foreigners, witnessed killings, mobs on the rampage, and a blind hatred for anyone of a different colour or creed.

The Barry community of 2021 is coming together to discover its past, be mindful of its lessons and explore how we grow together, to build a stronger, united community for today – and tomorrow – and avoid making mistakes for future generations. A growing of local social capital. 

The occasion reflects on the tragic events yet also serves as an inspiring rallying call for being open to understanding, inclusivity and standing shoulder-to-shoulder against racism and division – qualities that bind our community together with shared hopes for a better future.

Building on the success of the previous event held two years ago to mark the 1919 centenary, ‘Lest we forget’ features the town’s ‘Victorian Barry Experience’ providing a fascinating 60-minute walking tour, at 1pm and 4pm, along with a ‘Human Library’ between 3-4pm, where local people will share their stories to open up conversations about the Black experience and racism in Barry. 

There will be a special exhibition in the Community Centre at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery, with displays on racism, along with local musicians providing some inspiration through song.

‘Lest we forget’ will be an inspiring call to action for today’s generation, to learn the lessons from our forefathers and reflect on what is good in our world of today, to prevent fear and uncertainty ever escalating into blind hatred and repeating the tragedies of our past. The event is also being arranged to support Black History Month.

‘Lest we forget’ promises to be an inspiring local event which spreads the growth of social capital within the Barry community.

Written by Caroline Shaw

Caroline is currently completing her MA at Cardiff University studying International Public Relations and Global Communication Management whilst also launching her career with an internship as a Comms & PR Campaign Executive at Grow Social Capital.

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