British actor John Boyega has shared a passionate rallying cry at today’s Hyde Park demonstration in London, in response to the death of George Floyd in the US and campaign for ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Last week Floyd, 46, died after a police officer was seen kneeling on his neck during an arrest.
Following his death, protests erupted around the world, with many marching in support of Black Lives Matter.
Today many descended on Hyde Park, where Star Wars actor Boyega referenced two other black Americans who controversially died in the US, as well as the racist UK murder of Stephen Lawrence.
He told demonstrators: ‘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.’
Boyega, 28, 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.’
He continued, using a megaphone: ‘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.’
The Star Wars actor continued: ‘I need you to understand how painful this sh*t 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.’
The actor added it was important to ‘keep control of this moment’ and make it as ‘peaceful and as organised as possible’: ‘Because they want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganised but not today.’
Boyega, who was moved to tears during his speech, added a message specifically for black men, saying: ‘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.’
He went on: ‘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.’
He shouted in the powerful speech: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.’
The past week has seen Boyega call out racists and use his platform to spread the message that racism is unacceptable.
His speech came as a crowd of well over a thousand people came together in Hyde Park.