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John Boyega delivered an impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London on Wednesday, one of many major anti-racism demonstrations that have taken place around the world following the death of George Floyd on May 25.
“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,” said the Star Wars star, speaking to the crowds in Hyde Park through a megaphone.
“Every black person here remembers the time when another person reminded you that you were black,” he said, forcing back tears as he spoke. “I need you to understand how painful this shit 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.”
Boyega said that the thousands who had amassed in Hyde Park weren’t just the “physical representation of our support” for Floyd, but for Sandra Bland; Trayvon Martin; Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed by the U.K. police in 2011; and Stephen Lawrence, the black British teenager who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993 and which saw a subsequent public enquiry label the London police force institutionally racist.
The 28-year-old urged the crowds to remain as “peaceful as possible,” saying, “They want us to mess up, but not today.
“I’m speaking to you from the heart,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.”
Hours after his speech, Boyega received a statement of solidarity and support from Lucasfilm. In a tweet posted on the official Star Wars feed, the Kathleen Kennedy-run company called Boyega a “hero.”
Lucasfilm added that it stands with Boyega and his message that “Now is the time. Black Lives have always mattered. Black lives have always been important. Black lives have always meant something.”
“The evil that is racism must stop. We will commit to being part of the change that is long overdue in the world,” the statement added.
Watch the speech below.
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