Thursday 2 July, 2020

Hilary Beckles: Floyd’s fight is our fight

A protester in Minneapolis where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a police officer.

A protester in Minneapolis where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a police officer.

Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, is making an emphatic call for protesters in the United States to gain strength from their West Indian counterparts as African Americans continue widespread protests. 

In a statement, Beckles said the fight that African Americans have taken on is a very familiar one. 

“This Minneapolis fight was Marcus Garvey’s fight; it was Martin’s fight; it was Malcolm’s fight; it was Marley’s fight. It’s a Caribbean fight and it’s a global fight,” he said. 

Beckles believes that George Floyd’s plight and the protests in his honour are the root of the values sought after by Martin Luther King Jr, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Bob Marley during their respective eras.  

Professor Beckles charted slavery as the starting point for injustices against black people noting that the ill treatment has never stopped. 

“It is this license to treat animal life as dispensable that led the pack of hunters to pin a citizen to the concrete, using the knee like a blunt knife to the throat for nine minutes, while posing and posturing like a fisherman in triumph over his catch of the day for all to see!” he exclaimed. 

He’s calling on African Americans to remain empowered despite the challenging times.  

“We wish to invoke the memory of Marcus and Martin to bring to the islands young African Americans, here to breathe before returning to the mainland fight for dignity. We owe it to Martin, to Marcus, to Malcolm, and to Marley; and to all the ruptured minds of Minneapolis. This is our cause. Every university that stands for freedom, justice, and the celebration of human dignity must stand up like a gorilla for justice for George. Minneapolis is just another place where our eyes have detected evil, beyond hate, that has erupted from the depth of hell,” he pleaded. 

In a final call to action, Professor Beckles says it’s up to all those relating to the issues facing Black America to speak up in service of something long overdue. 

“Not only the souls of black folks have been scarred forever by this latest event in the genocidal war against young black men; the soul of the world is awakened. This week, every person on the planet who carries a spirit of love for humanity has become a protesting priest. We need our prophets now more than ever. The ‘old pirate has robbed I’ once again. And yet we shall rise!” he closed. 

The Professor's comments come after George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd was pinned down by the officer who had one knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. 

The officer, identified as Derek Chauvin and three other officers have since been fired from the police force. Chauvin has also been charged with third-degree murder. 

Protests throughout the United States have ensued to raise awareness to the killing and to oppose the police department's lack of charges against three other police officers who were also present at the time Floyd was killed.

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