BLM Tokyo Protestors Hit Streets to Fight Systemic Racism
Like all other human rights movements that stand for the rights of vulnerable people irrespective of their caste, colour, creed; Black Lives Matter stands for violence and systemic racism towards black people. The international human rights movement that speaks out against killing of black people, racial profiling and inequality in the criminal justice system has now spread to Tokyo. On Sunday, thousands of people marched in favour of Black Lives Matter Tokyo (BLM Tokyo) movement.
Founded on June 1 by Japan’s university students, BLM Tokyo has gained the support of many followers on social media. It was George Floyd’s murder that brought wide attention to the movement. The 46-year-old man was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. It evoked human sentiments post when it was found that Floyd’s movement was restrained by two more officers, while he kept begging for his life.
Since the homicide incident triggered protests against the lack of police accountability in the US and around the world, the main organiser and founder of BLM Tokyo movement wishes to spread racial discrimination awareness in Japan too. This will help the Japanese people to raise their voices against the growing injustices, while simultaneously standing in solidarity with the people protesting in the US.
Previously two of unorganised marches took place in Tokyo, each condemning Tokyo police officers’ brutality and controversial treatment towards people of different origin. Sunday’s march was the first to be organised by a local branch of BLM in the capital.
A number of designers, photographers and other black creatives have been recruited in Japan to change the perception of black people by creating a diverse community for them and making their work more visible. The demonstrations are expected to play a huge role in the same with people taking small steps where some would express their opinion, while others would encourage them to step forward.
It’s not the first time when a Black Lives Matter protest has happened in a country. A similar movement began in February 2012, after the killer of an African-American teen Trayvon Martin was dismissed, without any sentence. Similarly, the movement got international recognition following the deaths of two African Americans in New York city in 2014. Since then, the movement has slowly expanded into a national network. With Floyd’s death, it has today become an international movement. The societal intersection of governance and commerce today is somewhat based on the belief that the lives of the white people matter much more than that of the blacks. This ideology needs to be changed. Similar to BLM Tokyo, the movement has spread to all parts of the world. Hopefully this time through the protests, the world would consider valuing a black life rather than brutally killing them.
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