The story of Barry is essentially one of incomers from all parts of the world moving here to establish the Town we know and love today.
It is a story of people coming together to create a community that strives to work, play and lives in harmony.
Yet it is a story with a terrible scar.
Over a hundred years ago, in 1919, Barry, along with other dock towns in Liverpool, Cardiff, and Newport witnessed race riots. Driven by high unemployment, insecurity and a fear of foreigners, witnessed killings, mobs on the rampage, and a blind hatred for anyone of a different colour or creed.
‘Lest we forget’ is a special commemorative event to reflect, learn and grow from the experience. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, wrote the Spanish philosopher George Santayana.
The Barry community of 2021 is coming together to discover its past, be mindful of its lessons and explore how we grow together, to build a stronger, united community for today – and tomorrow – and avoid making mistakes for future generations
‘Lest we forget’ is being organised by social enterprise Grow Social Capital and Barry Town Council, along with community members to mark these terrible times in the town of over 100 years ago on Sunday October 24th at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery – which remarkably tells the stories of the victims, even heroes, and wider events of the 1919 race riots.
The occasion reflects on the tragic events yet also serves as an inspiring rallying call for being open to understanding, inclusivity and standing shoulder-to-shoulder against racism and division – qualities that bind our community together with shared hopes for a better future.
Building on the success of the previous event held two years ago to mark the 1919 centenary, ‘Lest we forget’ features the town’s ‘Victorian Barry Experience’ providing a fascinating 60-minute walking tour, at 1pm and 4pm, along with a ‘Human Library’ between3-4pm, where local people will share their stories to open up conversations about racism in Barry.
There will be a special exhibition in the Community Centre at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery, with displays on racism, along with local musicians providing some inspiration through song.
‘Lest we forget’ will be an inspiring call to action for today’s generation, to learn the lessons from our forefathers and reflect on what is good in our world of today, to prevent fear and uncertainty ever escalating into blind hatred and repeating the tragedies of our past.
Teas and coffees available in support of Mayor’s charities.