Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.03 4 Jun 2020


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A US Black Lives Matter activist says the current protests in the US over the death of George Floyd feel like a 'moment of change'.

LA-based Joseph Williams told Newstalk Breakfast that people need to continue to protest despite charges being brought against the officers involved in the incident.

US prosecutors yesterday said Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was sacked following the death of George Floyd, will now face more serious murder charges.

Three other former officers - all of whom were also fired following Mr Floyd's death - have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Mr Williams said the US is currently facing a 'reckoning' with an issue that has existed long before he was born.

US Black Lives Matter activist says 'it feels like the world is watching and our people are uprising'

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He said: “We know that before the Black Lives Matter movement there were other movements for justice for black folks in the United States… and all of those movements failed to achieve real equality for black people.

“The most striking way we see that is through the continued sanctioned violence and police murder of black people.”.

He suggested that the “callousness” of George Floyd’s death has galvanised people, but that it "absolutely wasn't" an isolated incident.

He observed: “Here in LA, in Atlanta, in Louisville, in Minneapolis, in New York… we’re uprising for George Floyd, but we’re also uprising for all of our stolen relatives, who had their lives stolen from them by police, and for all the other injustices that our community continues to face.

“It absolutely feels like the world is watching in some ways - and not just that the world is watching, but that our people are uprising in a huge way."

Mr Williams said the current moment is partially a consequence of the organising that has been done in the past seven years, and that it feels like a "moment of change".

He said that while developments such as the officers being charged are ‘huge’, activists can't 'let that be the end' of their efforts to secure permanent change.

Main image: File photo of Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles. Picture by: Ted Soqui/SIPA USA/PA Images

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