Isolation diary: Calling out racism

After Happy Monday, today is Blackout Tuesday.

I have mentioned before that I have been attending the Great British Home Chorus during lockdown. Every weekday at 5.30pm Gareth Malone leads a 30 minute rehearsal from his garden shed – the broadcasts are usually live, with all the risks that entails.

Yesterday, he didn’t start with a warm-up as expected but spoke from the heart about racism and the fallout from George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. It was a very powerful statement, and you can watch it here:

Gareth Malone then introduced us to his own beautiful 4 part arrangement of “We Shall Overcome” – the greatest protest anthem of all time. He was slightly concerned that this might be seen as cultural appropriation, because it was first adopted by the black civil rights movement in the US. During that period it was famously performed by both Pete Seegar and Joan Baez, and was sung at Martin Luther King’s funeral. However, later it became a universal song of protest. You could hear it at demonstrations in support of nuclear disarmament, or industrial action, and it was sung in Prague during the Velvet Revolution.

Gareth Malone later referred to Blackout Tuesday – today – and announced that our rehearsal would be cancelled. The music industry around the world has called for a day of reflection and protest, suspending all normal business, and all the major music labels have joined in. The BPI and Brit Awards, representing the UK’s music industry, have given their support.

The BPI and BRIT Awards stand in solidarity with our label members, their creative talents, and our partners across the wider music community in support of #BlackOutTuesday for #BlackLivesMatter. Music has the power to unite communities and give people a voice as they work together to bring about positive social change.

Like many of our members, we will suspend normal business tomorrow (02/06/2020) and our staff will share in this moment to reflect on the recent tragic events, stand in solidarity with all those who suffer discrimination and encourage our leaders across the world to act.

A number of radio and TV channels have changed their programming today to acknowledge Blackout Tuesday. We stand with them.

Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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