Marie Claire Australia|August 2020
In 2016, US football star Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem before a preseason game to protest police violence against black people. It was a simple gesture that spoke volumes: a sign of deference and respect, a request for protection, a posture of mourning. After George Floyd, 46, was murdered by a police officer kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis, the gesture has taken on a new meaning. During the Black Lives Matter protests around the world, including at this rally in San Jose, California, it became a sign of unity, a moment of surrender and a silent call to arms. “Stop murdering black people,” it says. It cries. It demands. Sometimes, you need to kneel to conquer.
Transcending ethnicity and age, the Black Lives Matter movement has united all walks of life in the fight against police brutality. Here, DC residents George, 29, and Mikaela, three, slap hands outside the White House during a peaceful protest. Mikaela’s mum said she brought her two children to the demonstration to help them understand the movement.
David Dungay Jr’s last words in 2015 echoed those of George Floyd’s. “I can’t breathe,” he gasped in his Long Bay (NSW) jail cell, pushed to the ground by five heavy officers after he refused to stop eating biscuits. He was 26. Dungay’s mother Leetona (below left) marched in Sydney demanding justice for her son, who is one of the 434 Indigenous people who have died since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ended in 1991. “I’m going to fight until I live in a country where black lives matter,” she said in 2019, after finding out the five guards would not face disciplinary action. Elsewhere in Sydney’s Surry Hills, advertising agency and art studio Apparition Media painted a mural of AFL legend and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes (below right).
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