A campaigner who played a key role in Aberdeen’s Black Lives Matter march in the summer believes it has made a difference.
A separate poster protest was held in Duthie Park, Westburn Park, Victoria Park, Skene Square and Marischal Square the weekend before with messages of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign attached to railings.
It followed the death of George Floyd in the US in May. He died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Ola Akisanya, president of Aberdeen University’s African Caribbean Society, helped organise the Castlegate event and believes it has had a positive impact for him.
The 24-year-old said: “I think it has changed a lot in my life and the lives of those around me. 2020 has been an awakening for people.
“This year has made people think about how they treat other people and have serious conversations with each other.
“After the protests, I’ve been able to get a seat at the table of more Aberdeen University groups like the race equality strategy group.
“I think it has made people more comfortable in Aberdeen as well.
“It seems that a lot of places are obliged to take action in the fight for equality. It is inspiring.”
Ola also praised the role of the city’s students and believes we should not focus too much on political changes in America if we cannot help make changes here.
He said: “I feel like students especially have been important because the BLM protests were led by student organisations.
“I feel like all of those organisations took hold of this and have been working together to make sure the student community pays attention to it.
“It always seems that American politics will affect every part of the world but we feel we should be making changes here first.”
Ola has previously welcomed Aberdeen University’s commitment to tackle racism over the coming decades.
In June 2020, the institution set out a series of pledges as they look to combat racial inequality.
These include establishing equality, diversity and inclusion committee with staff and students to promote racial equality and working towards setting up a race equality network.
Aberdeen University also signed up for Advance HE’s race equality charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.