John Boyega addressed a huge crowd at a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this week in central London — (June 3). The protest had been organised as action against racism following large numbers of protests that spread across the US and the world over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis (May 25). Former police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter but his charge has since gone up to second-degree and due to the pressure and power of protest the three other officers on the scene with him have also now been charged.
In the UK thousands of people attended the protest which began in Hyde Park, many shouting George Floyd’s name and with signs bearing his name and Black Lives Matter.
Boyega who is known for Star Wars was in tears as he referenced some of the other African Americans who have died in the US at the hands of racist police officers and the racist UK murder of Stephen Lawrence. Many of the protesters were also moved to tears as he spoke.
He said he was ‘speaking from his heart’.
The 28-year-old told the crowd: “We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin”
“We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence.”
He added: “I’m speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that”
“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process, we don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones.”
“Every black person in here remembered when another person reminded you that you were black.
“So none of you out there, all those protesters on the other side, protesting against what we want to do, protesting against what we want to try and achieve, burn you, this is so vital.”
Sandra Bland was found dead in her cell in July 2015 just days after being arrested for a minor traffic offence and Trayvon, was a 17-year-old high school student shot dead in Florida in 2012.
“I need you to understand how painful this s*** is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case anymore, that was never the case anymore.
“It is very very important that we keep control of this moment. That we make this as peaceful and as organised as possible. Because they want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganised but not today.”
Boyega cried openly adding: “This message is specifically for black men, black men we need to take care of our black women.
“They are our hearts, they are our future, we cannot demonise our own, we are the pillars of the family.
“Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create.
“Black men, it starts with you, it’s done man, we can’t be trash no more. We have to be better.”