This year, in April and beyond, the communities of Southall and people from afar will honour the memories of Gurdip Singh Chaggar and Blair Peach. Both were killed in the locality by violence dictated by racism.
Southall Resists 40 is an initiative of local individuals and organisations, many of whom were involved during the 1976, 1979 and 1981 events. It also includes young activists and artists who want to commemorate the important struggles that defeated fascism locally.
Gurdip Singh Chaggar, a young Asian boy, was an innocent victim of a racially motivated attack on 4 June during the hot summer of 1976. His untimely and senseless death galvanised young Asian people nationally to create their own political culture of self-organisation and self-defence as well as new artistic movements.
Blair Peach, an anti-racist schoolteacher, was killed on St George’s Day (23rd April) in the spring of 1979 by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Patrol Group. This occurred during a peaceful anti National Front demonstration. No one has ever been arrested or charged, for his murder. His brutal murder inspired an international campaign for justice led by his partner, Celia Stubbs, and friends. Police actions on the day also led to the criminalisation of a whole community – mainly people of Asian and African Caribbean origin.
Despite these tragedies, our continued resistance achieved a remarkable and life changing victory. People in Southall finally began to live and thrive in a town free from racist and fascist violence.
Today the giant twins of racism and poverty are fuelling a far right resurgence. In some parts of Europe, extreme-right and anti-immigration parties have become partners in government. Their strategy include strengthening forces of nativism and fascism in the UK. Death and criminalisation motivated by racism remains a potent mixture of lived experience. The signs are there to be seen. Do we need a weather presenter to tell us which way the wind is blowing?
Southall Resists 40, a locally led coordinating group, has been established to promote the 40th anniversary of these momentous struggles, plan events commemorating 1976 onwards and support such initiatives by affiliated groups. Our aim is not only to remember the past by learning lessons from the resistance that was created, but also to prepare for the future.
Why not join us? Please browse through other sections of the website to gain more information on our activities, our supporters and how to promote our work.
Were you in Southall from 1976 to 1982? Did you witness any of the events? If yes, please contact us – we especially want to hear from you.