Jen Reid Interview

Activist Jen Ried, climbed on to the plinth of Edward Colston and raised her fist above her head, becoming an iconic image and one of the defining moments of 2020. Jen has an event on Sunday 8 at 1pm, link to event information here.

Are you from Bath? What was it like to grow up here?

Growing up in Bath was really fun. I grew up on the London Road. I left Bath in 1988 and moved to London, mainly to party. I have visited London on the weekends and loved the fashion, the hairdressers, there was obviously more black culture than what I had in Bath. I moved to Bristol in 2012.

Why did you decide to write the book?

I always said if I was to live my life again I would work with children. So, after everything that happened with the statue coming down and standing on the plinth, it gave me the opportunity to work with children and empower them. And that’s how this book came about. It tells the story of what happened that day. 

Do you think children need to be more educated on local history?

Yes, I think children need to be educated in history full stop. Stories need to be told and it is very important that history is told in its full context and not half truths. Because this is the reason we are where we are now, because of history not being told in its full context. But the truth will always come out and here we are. 

What is the interactive part in your event?

I’ve got some sheets where the children can write their own banners of protest or they can write who their hero is. A hero can be your Mum or your Dad, it can be anybody, somebody that’s made a difference to you or to society. I think it’s important for children to be their own hero or recognise a hero. 

There will also be a Q&A where the children will have a chance to ask questions about what happened on the day. 

How important do you think the right to protest is?

Taking away peoples right to protest is an absolutely ridiculous idea. Where would we be without protest? Look at all the positive effects of protest. Look at the Suffragettes. I don’t even like to think about if that bill was to be pushed through. 

Do you think young people are able to change their parent’s outlook on serious topics?

I really think they can, the more I speak to children and the more schools I visit. This is something I hear a lot from children about educating their parents. I definitely think you can teach an old dog new tricks. I definitely think this is the generation of change and I think if it’s coming from a child, people are more inclined to listen. I definitely think children have the power to do this and people don’t give them enough credit. 

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