On Saturday 13th June 2020, Jamaine
Facey, Lee Russell, Chris Otokito and Patrick Hutchinson's lives turned upside
Peaceful protesters all over the world had taken to the streets to call for justice of the horrific deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police as well as numerous ignored black trans fatalities including Riah Milton
But this day felt different. Following a terrorist threat from the former leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson, a sea of far-right hooligans hurling hateful comments and aggression had flooded into London.
As father figures, Jamaine, Lee, Chris and Patrick felt adamant that they needed to protect anyone vulnerable who was not met with peace. "We attended the demonstration in unity, with a clear purpose to be role models, and to use our past life experience and wisdom to prevent the young people in attendance from making foolish choices which could so rapidly change their lives," says Lee Russell.
However, when they arrived at Waterloo station, violence among the counter-protestors had already reached a boiling point. Not only had the racist mob turned on each other, but innocent members of the public as well.
One far-right protester slumped over on the ground was deteriorating very quickly. Patrick picked him up while the others shielded him, carried him to nearby police and as a collective, they saved his life. Humbly retracing their steps, Patrick comments "As I was carrying him, he was still receiving blows. It didn't cross my mind that he might hold prejudices, we just wanted to get him out of there."
The unforgettable image of Patrick was captured on camera and in a matter of hours, was circulated globally. By morning the likes of CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The BBC started calling for interviews. But actions speak louder than words, and the most striking element of Patrick, Jamaine, Lee and Chris's photo from that day didn't require any subtext: it was that of a black man taking a white man out of danger.
Speaking on the moment as Patrick
Hutchinson stated, "It's not black vs white, it everyone vs racism."
Jamaine Facey backed that up by
clarifying "We saved him to protect our children's future. Otherwise, the
narrative from the media on that day would have been completely different."
Off the back of the hype of The Waterloo incident, 'The Fathers' have been in constant demand. Among many things, they've landed multi-page features in Men's Health, exchanged words with influential black leaders such as American Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton and were invited by Lord Dr Michael Hastings to the Houses of Parliament.
Having had time to reflect and digest the trajectory of their seminal moment and the feedback that they've received from the public has overwhelming to say the least. Not only have Jamaine, Patrick, Chris and Lee been met with extraordinarily positive praise and filled with gratitude but they've been catapulted onto a new platform.
They've clocked universal respect, but their core values for CHANGE have not been diluted by the spotlight. In fact, they've been ignited. Together 'The Fathers' have formed UTCAI - United To Change And Inspire.
Bonded by a common thread, Patrick concludes "As fathers we just want things to be fair. We want everyone to get the same shot at opportunities regardless of their race. I'd love to see our young children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews have a better world than I have lived in. And a better world than my mother and my nan lived in. We have an opportunity to be heard, and we're going to take it. "