We are the 99% We are the 52%

The last couple of weeks has been great.  My lovely boyfriend greeted me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  This may not seem like a big deal to you but I’m not used to such romantic gestures and it is, in fact, the first bouquet I have ever been given by a boy!  Well, at 22, he is a man.  But this had me all overwhelmed and girly. Although I always say my favourite flowers are Antirrhinums, I don’t think they do bouquets haha!  These pretty Roses are a such a classic and it had me smiling for days to receive them.

Last Tuesday I saw Billy Bragg for the first time.  I wasn’t familiar with his music but I knew Sound of Rum, having supported Kate Tempest, and was recently familiar with Akala from the programme Life of Rhyme.  I listened to some Billy on spotify and decided it was unmissable!  I tried to get some friends interested but had no luck, so I went on my own.  I went to Nando’s first and annoyingly the girl who served me got the table number wrong so I basically ended up missing most of Sound of Rum which sucked, but what I saw was amazing, as ever.  Both Kate Tempest and Billy Bragg’s words were so inspirational that I welled up.

The whole event was really empowering and there was a great sense of solidarity.  I would have loved to be in the standing section but I had my laptop with me and that wouldn’t have been sensible.  I met a nice Billy Bragg fan though and so that was cool as well!

"Hi, how can I help?"

I have been working hard at Sainsbury’s and have done about 11 hours overtime, woop!  It’s pretty good working there, I’m an even bigger fan of the company now, especially finding out they do a lot of funding for the arts.  Also, can you believe it’s been about 11 years since Jamie Oliver started his partnership with Sainsbury’s?!  That’s like, half of my life, argh!    The only thing I’d like to change is to work two days and not three, and not to work Saturdays!  I’m probably going to miss Million Women Rise because of it!  Plus, I was late for Reclaim the Night because I finished work at the meeting time. I attempted to take the tube part of the way but ended up walking to the Camden Centre and being around half-an-hour early.  I contacted the other UEA Feminist Society committee members and eventually, I heard a roar from around the corner and saw some people looking.  I had found the march! I ran past two guys making gestures and spouting something nonsensical.

Adrenaline rushed through my body as I heard the chants clearer “Whatever we wear, wherever we go yes means yes and no means no!” and “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Sexual Violence has got to go!”  I managed to meet up with the group pretty quickly and was so happy to be able to join for the last five or ten minutes of the march.

We gathered in the hall of the Camden Centre and before I even had time for the toilet, the speakers started…

  • Women against the cuts – Eve Featherstone
  • Abortion rights – Kate Smurthwaite
  • NUS National Women’s Officer – Estelle Hart
  • NASUWT Officer
  • Million Women Rise – Femi Otitoju

Although the reality of things like the cuts, particularly in relation to violence against women, were daunting, it was another inspiring evening.  Cutting billions of pounds of funding for organisations that help victims of violence, stopping free contraception and abortions… it is all making steps backwards.  This was illustrated shockingly by Kate, pulling out a wire coat-hanger.  The fact is that forced pregnancy will also bring the country down economically, and will be extremely harmful for those from low-income backgrounds because they will not be able to afford unwanted pregnancies, financially, let alone emotionally!

I ended the night with some jerk chicken and a cheeky bit of rice from the nice man serving me, for £2.  And with that, I’ll wrap it up. xxx

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