BY Orji Jeffery
Ken Keyes Jr was so deep in her reflection that, a loving person lives in a loving world but a hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror”. For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.
The question of who breathes and who suffocates is a question of who deserves to live. It is a question that will only become more urgent as the historical crisis develops. The momentum for cultural and political change stemming from the re-emergence of Black Lives Matter demonstrations this season has been extraordinary. Throughout communities across the globe, portraits of George Floyd , Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, to name a few. These victims of police brutalities are wheat-pasted on building walls. Signs that now reads BLACK LIVES MATTER are posted in residential and storefront windows, tagged words of George Floyd (I can’t breathe) are also very visible on city walls. Statues that generate racist, segregationist, and confederate have come tumbling down. Brands and corporations have rushed to acknowledge systemic racism, ranging between strong and lukewarm commitments to addressing structural inequities.
Protest have been held in more than 30 cities across the US and throughout the world after disturbing video surfaced showing bystanders pleading with white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, as he struggled to gasp for breath. Floyd died during the incident, the latest in a string of deaths of black men and women at the hands of US police.
Thousands of New Zealanders have joined large numbers of Americans in protesting following the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
In Auckland, Aotea Square lots of people gathered on same cause before thousands marched down Queen Street towards the US consulate building.
Hugh Ozumba and yours humbly Jeffery Orji of the Nigeria Association in NewZealand in conjunction with other African communities were part of this successfully March. Our aim for this March was very simple, “we want to put pressure on our government from local level, right up to Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern to publicly condemn the acts of violence and state sanctioned murder against African Americans in the United States and the entirety world”.
As a matter of fact, on many occasion, I have been harassed by racist. I have faced racial remarks from even government officials here in NewZealand… “You…. black monkey, I will send you back to the slump in Africa you came from. I will send you to jail and lock you up as much as I want, you bloody Nigerian criminal.
Systematic Racism should be addressed now rather than later. The issue is a very complex and needs to me addressed and fixed once and for all as the next generation will be much more multicultural. Everyone on earth should wear the thinking cap of Nelson Mandela who said “I hate racial discrimination most intensely and all its manifestations. I have fought all my life; I fight now, and will do so until the end of my days. Even although I now happen to be tried by one, whose opinion I hold in high esteem, I detest most.” Just as Martin Luther King, Jr said that the ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.