African Americans in Taiwan yesterday held a rally in Taipei to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, and were joined by Aboriginal rights advocates who spoke out about all racist violence.
The movement has gained renewed momentum after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on May 25 when white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking worldwide protests against police brutality and racism.
The rally, which started at 2pm in front of the National Taiwan Museum, attracted nearly 300 people, according to police estimates.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Stefanie Davis, of the Black Lives Solidarity Global Initiative, said that it was important to show solidarity with people in the US, where there have been numerous protests and rallies.
Asked how the group expects Taiwanese to respond to the event, Davis said they hope to change stereotypes about black people and promote mutual understanding.
“There are more [black] people than just besides the NBA players that you watch on TV. They are real people,” she said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
She said she hopes that when Taiwanese meet a black person, they would say “hello” instead of making comments, such as: “Oh, curly hair. What is going on?”
At the rally, KG Aniah said he got involved with the event for three reasons: “One, because I’m black. Two, because I’m black. Three, because I’m black.”
He said that it is time to give their parents and grandparents a rest, an apparent reference to previous rights movements, and stop being silent and start taking action to make a change.
Savungaz Valincinan, representing members of the Indigenous Youth Front, spoke at the rally in her native Bunun, saying: “Keep breathing.”
She said this is the first rally they joined that was organized by black people, with whom they empathized, as Aborigines have also experienced racism and exploitation.
Apart from speeches and performances, there were solemn recollections, including when people knelt on one knee in remembrance of Floyd and observed nine minutes of silence for black people killed by police.
John Liu (劉仲恩), a National Taiwan University associate professor of sociology, attended the rally with his family.
He said they have lived in several places across the US where they had become friends with many black people and empathize with the movement.
Racial prejudice is deep-rooted and manifests through different forms in the US, but has become more apparent during US President Donald Trump’s administration, he said.
University of Puget Sound associate professor of philosophy Sam Liao (廖顯禕) also attended the rally with his children.
The rally is a good opportunity for Taiwanese to observe different forms of oppression, while reflecting on their own prejudice against black people, Aborigines, Southeast Asian migrants and other minorities, he said.
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