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Ashford schoolgirl tells of racist attack and holds Black Lives Matter protest in memory of George Floyd


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A schoolgirl was left "hating everything about herself" after a car-load of racists threw a banana at her and shouted vile abuse when she was just eight.

Now 17, Tanisha Wynter returned to the spot in Ashford and held her own Black Lives Matter protest in memory of George Floyd, who was killed during an arrest in the US last week.

Speaking to kmfm she recounted: "I wanted to go and see my friend and as I went to cross the main road, a car full of boys slowed down and threw a banana peel out of the window and made monkey noises at me, and shouted derogatory phrases out the window before they drove off.

"I was eight, I didn't know what to do, I just broke down when I got to my friend's house.

"It was definitely something that stayed with me, for a long time I hated everything about myself.

"The way that that experience made me feel... I wouldn't want anyone to go through that at any age, let alone the age of eight.

"I thought it would be a really good moment for myself, when I thought it was just going to be me, it's symbolic really to return to the place."

She added: "I couldn't join the protests in London of course, but I was chatting with some family and I said I might go out to the main road in my own little protest because at least then I'm doing something.

"I have suffered racism even in Ashford, so I thought I may as well raise the awareness here because it shows that it's not just the big cities."

Tanisha (C) hopes that others will not feel alone
Tanisha (C) hopes that others will not feel alone

Tanisha protested on her street at the same time as a similar campaign was going on in London in the memory of Mr Floyd.

Demonstrators raised issues of alleged police brutality in the UK after days of action in America.

Mr Floyd died after being arrested outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he allegedly tried to use a fake bank note.

White cop Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for nine minutes as he repeatedly gasped "I can't breathe."

The officer has since been charged with murder and he and three colleagues, two of whom were also restraining Mr Floyd, have been sacked.

Tanisha Wynter at the protest at the weekend
Tanisha Wynter at the protest at the weekend

Tanisha explained the ordeal at such a young age, as well as many others that she has endured, made Mr Floyd's death hurt even more.

She said: "I can't lie, I watched the video and I couldn't help but cry, it was heartbreaking.

"It feels personal to me, definitely, whenever I see police brutality or racism it hurts my heart.

"My brother travels the world and sometimes he goes to America, and I can't help but think... what if that was him?

"I can't stop thinking about it."

Ashford Borough Councillor Steve Campkin also paid the protest a visit
Ashford Borough Councillor Steve Campkin also paid the protest a visit

After getting an amazing reaction to her protest, Tanisha says that she hopes others experiencing racism will not feel alone.

She said: "When it happens, you feel so alone, you just think 'why me? Why has this happened?'

"I want to say to anyone who experiences racism, you are not alone when it happens.
"There are so many of us out here, people of all races, we all support you and we want to remind you that you are not alone."

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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