As the U.S. enters an eighth day of protests, London too saw thousands gather to march in solidarity and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The central London demonstration started at 1 p.m., with protesters gathering at Hyde Park before heading south. Star Wars actor John Boyega was among the crowd and gave a rousing speech, thanking everyone who gathered and specifically addressing the need to take care of Black women, too.
"I'm speaking to you from my heart," he told protestors. "Look, I don't know if I'm going to have a career after this, but fuck that." Over the course of four minutes, he spoke emotively of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and Stephen Lawrence, and the urgent need to join together to make this a better world.
"First of all, I want to thank every single one of you for coming out," the 28-year-old actor started. "This is very important, this is very vital. 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."
Moved to tears, Boyega included a message is specifically for Black men: "We need to take care of our Black women," he urged. "They are our heart, they are our future, we cannot demonise our own. We are the pillars of the family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create. Black men, it starts with you. It’s done man, we can’t be trash no more. We have to be better."
Boyega urged protestors to "keep control" of this moment, and to keep this as peaceful as possible: "They want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganised, but not today."
He said: "We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence."
"Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process, we don't know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don't know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we're going to make sure that won't be an alien thought to our young ones."
Speaking through a megaphone, he continued: "Every black person in here remembered when another person reminded you that you were black. So none of you out there, all those protesters on the other side, protesting against what we want to do, protesting against what we want to try and achieve, burn you, this is so vital. 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, that was never the case anymore."