Streatham Stands Together

Streatham locals took to the High Road on Saturday 8th February to demonstrate love, hope and unity less than a week after the terror attack which shook our community.
Immediately after the incident on Sunday 2nd February, news of the attack and shocking images of our High Road headlined national and international media. Social media channels were busy with Streatham locals checking in on loved ones and sharing their shock at the events that had unfolded. What was unseen by the world’s media, was the instant desire to come together and show that this act of terror would not fracture our community or breed hatred for others. Over coffee, on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, local people were beginning to plan their stand against hatred. Here was a beautiful, organic response; that grew quickly through the strength of community and networks that already existed.

Around 150 people met at St Leonard/s Church to learn songs led by choir directors Zoie Kennedy and Xenia Davis, before processing up the High Road, singing, “peace, there’s only peace, there’s only peace”. Ann-Marie Lugay, who took official photographs of the event said, “I felt emotional, I had to hold back tears as we all left the church singing.” One local resident posted on social media, “Proud to be in Streatham this morning. ♥️ procession of singers ‘reclaiming’ the high street. Thank you. Very moving.”

Throughout the day, hundreds of messages were written in chalk outside the Odeon, creating a visual symbol of the love that is found in Streatham.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, arrived, thanking attending police officers for their tireless work following the terror attack. Speaking to the crowd, he praised the spirit of the day, “You set an example to other parts of our city, other parts of our country, and other parts of the world, because you are a beacon, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart… There are some people around the world who think diversity is a weakness, I think the opposite, I think diversity is a strength, and Streatham you have shown the world that.”  Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP also delivered a moving speech praising the police and the community spirit.

Streatham showed a united front as the public bowed their heads and were led in prayer by leaders from Jewish, Christian and Muslim congregations. A community spokesperson Umar Mahmood said, “This was an amazing show of community solidarity.”
Summing up the day, community organiser Georgia Ladbury remarked, “it was a great opportunity to show that Streatham Stands Together no matter what.”

Hannah May-Miller