EVOC 150 team make contact with long lost Edinburgh protester

Through the power of community and social media, the EVOC 150 team has made contact with its poster girl for protesting and civic action.

The team had been using an image of a young girl protesting in Edinburgh about the state of damp housing in Pilton, in the north of Edinburgh as an integral part of the EVOC 150 project. After a powerful and moving piece of digital storytelling was made based around the image by 150 Communications Intern Alea Ibrahim, the decision was taken to try and find the young girl featured.

Zoe Black came across the photograph in her local library, but didn’t think too much of it. She said: “I saw the photograph when I was in Muirhouse library getting photocopies, I took a photo of it and went back to my Dad and said ‘I’m in Muirhouse library’ and I never thought anymore about it.

“Because I already had a copy of the photo, I didn’t investigate it. I hadn’t been on social media for many years and my sister phoned me and said someone is looking for you.”

EVOC posted the photo on Twitter, with the caption ‘Have you seen this girl?’ and invited people to use the power of community and word of mouth to find the girl in the photo and if she was still involved in protesting.

Zoe said: “It took 7 minutes to find me, from when EVOC posted it on Twitter to when someone recognised that it was one of the Blacks. I got in touch and said who I was and that I was still campaigning. I had mixed emotions and thought ‘How have they got that photo?’. When I properly looked at it and remembered my jacket I got really upset and thinking back to when I was a kid.

“I kept thinking back to being brought up in Muirhouse, going to the beach, skiving school and all these things that we did. Once the emotion left, it was pretty cool!”

Zoe comes from a family that have been heavily involved in protesting and campaigning since the 1970s, and she is still raising awareness for causes today.

She said: “I am still protesting because I believe it is important to fight against injustice and we are still fighting the same things. The rich are getting richer and the poor get poorer, it’s the same slogan people have been saying since the 1970s.”

Finding Zoe, and learning that she was still an active citizen involved in her community, added something extra special to EVOC’s 150th Anniversary programme.

Lucy Ridley, EVOC 150 Programme Manager, said: “When Zoe or ‘the Pilton Girl’ got in touch, I was speechless. Finding her, and showing her some of the archived photo collection we have of protests and demonstrations in the same time period has really deepened our personal knowledge of who was involved and why they were involved in civic action at that time. It’s been a real joy to meet Zoe and her sisters, and to see that she is still protesting.”

EVOC, in conjunction with The Living Memory Associated has collated a digital archive of photos showing Edinburgh’s heritage of protest and civic action. The photos are available here: https://www.evoc150.org.uk/archive-photos/

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