Despite a day of cool, grey and windy Manchester weather, a fantastic group of around seventy turned out yesterday to lobby day one of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services national conference at the Midland Hotel.
There was a great atmosphere; the mood was upbeat and determined, and a powerful message was sent to all who witnessed the event that we will neither stay silent nor back down in our efforts to expose complicity in past evils and hold to account those who continue to fail in their job of protecting and caring for our most vulnerable children. Not only that, they compound their wrongdoing with yet more stonewalling, cover-up and lies and with complicity in the horrors of state child-stealing and forced adoption.
A large banner covered one of the 2 main entrances and an assortment of children’s shoes placed on the pavement provided a symbolic tribute and memorial to the many children who tragically did not survive their horrendous ordeal.
With the Midland occupying a prominent position just across from the city library and close to the town hall, the event attracted a good deal of attention from passing motorists and pedestrians, none of it apparently hostile. In fact many people stopped to ask questions and express support for what we were doing.
Police presence was fairly low-key, with only 3 officers present and, after some initial slightly heated negotiations, accommodations were made and the lead officer revealed himself as quite possibly one of the ‘good guys’.
Mickey, Nigel, Russell and others provided strong and inspirational leadership as ever and the event was most definitely and appropriately survivor-led. However, as was clear from the conversations I had, it was good to note there were also many non-survivors present in support. Whether or not directly affected, it is our fight too, and we need to stand shoulder to shoulder.
Personally speaking, I felt proud to be a part of the group and part of the event, delighted to renew a few old acquaintances, meet more new people and put more faces to names. Only sorry I will miss the remaining 2 days, as I did not realise it was continuing and have made other plans!
Unfortunately we did not see much of the Social Services personnel; possibly they were using an alternative entrance or simply remained in the building. Apologies to the exiting dermatologists who were mistakenly heckled!
Thanks for this great article Angie