Last week we were thrilled to welcome activist Patrick Hutchinson to Switchback to launch our exciting new event series: Speaks With Switchback.
Patrick is a writer and campaigner who’s photo became the defining image of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, when he carried a counter-protester to safety. Together with a group of friends, including MMA fighter Jamaine Facey, Patrick used the media buzz generated by the image to start his own organization: United to Change and Inspire. Patrick, along with Jamaine, spoke passionately with Switchback Trainees about racism in the UK and topics from education to prisons, policing and more.
The conversation, chaired by Switchback Mentor Kameran and poet Mr Gee, launched our new series of events: Speaks With Switchback. Throughout the year, the series will bring together Switchback Trainees with inspirational speakers to discuss topics affecting young men today – from physical and mental health, to the impact of knife crime, to entrepreneurship. Each event will also be livestreamed to the public on Switchback’s Twitter and Instagram.
”Why did I do it? The first thing is I’m not going to stand around and watch anybody get hurt, regardless of what else has happened. But the other thing is, if anything did happen to him, there were all these young protesters whose lives were going to be ruined because they did something very silly in the heat of the moment. When we saved him, we also saved them, and the narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement."Patrick Hutchinson
Patrick and Jamaine spoke about growing up as black men in London; their experience of the school system, of racial profiling by the police and encounters with the far right. They explained why they had decided to come to the protest where the viral image was taken, and prevent a violent confrontation. We also heard about the work they have been doing since, educating and empowering young people to challenge injustice and overcome barriers.
As well as hearing Patrick and Jemaine’s stories, we had the opportunity to discuss strategies for combating racism in society. Trainees asked questions and shared their views on the role of the school curriculum, criminal justice reform and the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement. We spoke about the importance of positive role models and building bridges to create social change.
”Change is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Things aren’t going to change overnight, but you will get there.Patrick Hutchinson
A big thanks to Patrick and Jemaine for this fascinating and inspiring conversation.
The next Speaks With Switchback event will be announced soon – follow us on social media to watch live!