For obvious reasons FestivALL 2020 didn’t go quite as we had originally planned it…
We took FestivALL completely online this year, encouraging people to make and hang paper chains to celebrate the connections they had formed and sustained over the last few months (and then send us pictures of their chains!). We also hosted free online, inclusive events, including a creative writing workshop, laughter yoga, a quiz and a workshop on Craftivism (you can re-watch this one on our Facebook page!) We offered a FestivALL Link Up Online Pack which included helpful resources to connect online and also funded activities for online get-togethers.
All of the events were really well attended and one in particular really seemed to capture people’s interest and sparked some amazing conversations. Amplifying Voices Together, a panel event hosted by Lives of Colour, brought people together to talk about their experiences, diversity and also how we can be better allies.
People attended the event from across Gloucestershire and the panel guests included Vicci Livingstone-Thompson from Inclusion Gloucestershire, Reg Cobb from Gloucestershire Deaf Association, Megan Paul from You’re Welcome Gloucestershire, Shekainah Swamba who recently organised the Black Lives Matter vigil in Cheltenham, Najah Hill from Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees, Eby Ukandu from Black Business Community Gloucestershire, plus local activists Noor Al-Koky, Sekai Waterman and Rob Surrey.
Each panellist spoke passionately about their individual life experiences and perspectives on identity, as well as exploring how we could be better allies for one another. It was impossible, as an attendee, not to be moved by people’s stories, people shared a lot of themselves. Florence, from Lives of Colour, expertly guided us through the event and enabled everyone to have a voice about at times some very difficult issues.
Some of the quotes from the day are below:
‘It’s been energising, deeply impactful and each speaker has epitomised the allyship they are advocating for through their inclusive and respectful discussions today.’
‘I was scribbling things down madly as you all spoke today. SO much to take on board and be aware of as we walk along in life, together.’
‘This has been so interesting – thank you. Allyship – first time I’ve come across the term and I’m here to learn – but feel I want to be involved – or ‘be ready to challenge’’
BBC Radio Gloucestershire followed up on the event the following week during the Anna King show and interviews were featured each day with a selection of the panellists. You can listen to them here.
If you missed the Amplifying Voices Together event you can also watch the event on the FestivALL Facebook page:
We are busy thinking about what next for this event and important conversation. If you were part of the event and want to talk to us about your ideas, or are passionate about being an ally, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.