Organiser of Lydney Black Lives Matter event set to feature on Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

Khady organised Lydney's Black Lives Matter protest after the death of George Floyd in America. Credit: Khady Gueye / Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust

The organiser of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Gloucestershire is set to have her story illustrated on a well-known sculpture trail.

A poem about Khady Gueye, who led the demonstration in Lydney after the death of George Floyd, will be carved into totem poles along The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.

'Soil Unsoiled' has been created by Khady and Bristol-based poet Zakiya McKenzie. It explores the racial prejudices Khady faced while growing up in the Forest of Dean

Working with Zakiya to produce this poem that reflects lived experience in these rural spaces was fantastic and I am in awe of the piece that she has produced. To put these words into that space physically is a metaphor for the fact that the Forest of Dean is a place for black and ethnic minority people; this is our community and we are claiming back that space.

Khady Gueye

Speaking about the future installation at the Beechenhurst visitor attraction, Khady said she is "overwhelmed" and "in awe" of what has been produced.


Khady was joined by her best friend, Eleni, when leading the event. Credit: Khady Gueye

Lydney's Black Lives Matter event in June caused controversy in the local community after the Mayor of Lydney Town Council advised organisers to cancel it.

According to Cllr Walter Leach, fears surrounding the spread of coronavirus were causing growing concern there.

In a letter to Khady and fellow organiser Eleni Eldridge-Tull, Mr Leach said their actions would be "more damaging to the cause than helpful".

After numerous council resignations and several other setbacks, the event went ahead on 20 June and hundreds of people attended to pay their respects to Mr Floyd and raise awareness of racial injustice.



Since then Khady and Eleni have launched a Local Equality Commission to teach people about different cultural histories.

They recently visited a primary school in Clearwell as part of their efforts to combat racial inequality in some of the Forest of Dean's most rural communities.

Khady has appeared on ITV West Country several times to talk about her work and can also be heard talking regularly on different podcasts, radio shows and in magazines.

The 24-year-old told Gloucestershire Live the project is "fantastic" and "claims a space for ethnic and other minority groups in the area".

A planning application for the sculpture is expected to be submitted by the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust.


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