• Richard Watts

Have We Learnt Nothing in 100 years?

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

With everything that continues to happen within certain factions of the US police force and in the US in general, it seems as good a time as any to share this.

Five years ago, I shot and edited a four-part documentary about the 1919 race riots that happened in Cardiff, Glasgow, London, and Liverpool. I knew nothing about the subject matter really and had little or no experience of producing a program for broadcast. But with a tiny crew and my producer/presenter friend Ndidi Spencer we visited all four cities and set about trying to find out what happened during this forgotten period in our history and how it related to things that were happening around us at the time.

It’s a little rough around the edges as I watch it today, but I’m still really proud of what we achieved and I guess I’m sharing it today as a reminder of how far we have come, but also as a reminder of how far we haven’t.

This short extract centres around ‘The Writing on the Wall’ project in Liverpool, it was meant to be a bit of a history lesson for us, but turned into something else, as a white power march was headline news in the city the day we arrived. It shocked me then and still shocks me today that despite constant reminders of how we got it wrong in the past we still continue to make the same mistakes today.

The death of George Floyd is not an isolated incident and the subsequent violence that has followed shows frightening parallels with 100 years ago. Violence often leads to violence as we found out during the filming of 'Routes' and I only hope that our friends and neighbours in the US that continue to be affected by these daily tragedies find the strength to fight for real change. Although we don’t necessarily have the same immediate issues here in the UK it’s important we show our support however we can and the high-brow media's lambasting of the 'Blackout Tuesday' movement just goes to show that they are more concerned about headlines than helping people understand what they can to do help.

It's no different than me writing and sharing this today, it's just another persons thoughts typed out in frustration as I watch idly buy, wishing there was more that could be done.

If you'd like to watch the whole series of 'Routes' you can find them on my Vimeo channel which is located below:-


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