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  • Yesmien Bagh Ali

Picnic In The Park To Celebrate Diversity

Sunday 16th August, 2020 was no ordinary day for me. It was an opportunity for me and many of my new friends from the ‘Skipton & The Dales for Social Change Group’ to create change by educating through dialogue.

We were holding a ‘Picnic in the Park’, an event which would give us the perfect opportunity to bring local communities from various cultural backgrounds together.

The idea was to create an atmosphere in which people would be willing and ready to put in the effort to change themselves as a result of listening to dialogues.

The group wanted to make a safe atmosphere where people could feel sufficiently comfortable to connect with others from different faiths, cultures and life-styles; to take away the fear and prejudice that is often the result of years of misunderstandings and ignorance, leaving many of us suffering from an outdated mindset.

The date of the picnic also celebrated Pakistan and India’s independence, thereby bringing together families from Pakistan and Indian heritages, too.

What is Skipton & The Dales for Social Change? Skipton & The Dales for Social Change, is a group formed during the 2020 lockdown to address global issues affecting us all. The idea of a picnic lunch came out of the regular Black Lives Matter Protests in Skipton after the death of George Floyd.

These protests will continue (with support from the Police) on the first Sunday of every month outside Skipton Town Hall from 12-1pm. All are welcome.

Images by Malcolm Stoney/1979photography. (above three)

The focus of Skipton & The Dales for Social Change was initially ‘Black lives Matter’ but now we are planning to develop links with all groups in Skipton campaigning for change: Extinction Rebellion (XR), Refugee Support, Plastic Free Skipton, The Rotters and Incredible Edibles, The LGBTQ+ community and those who campaign on disability and mental health

A beautiful moment of the event for me was watching two older women from completely different cultures and faiths finding a way to communicate with each other when one spoke little or no English.

A big thank you to the group’s members for all their hard work. The picnic was a great success, while still managing to keep to Covid’s safe distancing rules. There were speeches, bhangra dancing, singing and an amazing ‘Black History Trail’ which highlighted the lives and contributions of people such as Sophie Duleep Singh, Mary Seacole, Abdul Karim, Dadabhai Nacroji and Marcus Rashford. It gave many of us the opportunity to understand the past before we change the future.

Skipton & The Dales for Social Change is aiming to publish a collection of writings from those speaking up about experiences of racism and those in local groups concerned about the Climate Crisis we face.

Let your voice be heard - write up to 500 words and submit to The deadline is 1 November 2020

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