Protesters shine light on ‘real big racism problem’

T.J Zimba is tired.

Tired of the racism he said he experienced every day. Tired of the scenes of racism he has been seeing around the world.

"It’s not just New Zealand, it’s not just America, it’s wherever black people of colour are."

He was one of about 250 protesters who marched in Dunedin to voice their opposition to racism and colonialism yesterday.

Many New Zealanders would not be aware there was a "real big racism problem" in the country, he said.

"We’re just here to shine a light on that."

Chanting "no justice, no peace", they walked from the Otago Museum reserve to the Octagon.

Hundreds of protesters marched down Dunedin’s George St to show their support for the Black Lives...
Hundreds of protesters marched down Dunedin’s George St to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
It was one of several marches around the country, which attracted thousands of people, in the wake of the death of American George Floyd.

The Auckland march ended at the US consulate, where protesters knelt and observed a minute of silence for George Floyd.

In Wellington, close to 3000 protesters marched from Civic Square to Parliament.

At Dunedin’s event, signs emblazoned with messages such as "Black Lives Matter" and "We need decent jobs not cops" were carried by some marchers.

Organiser Eddie Ennion (22) said he grew up in Dunedin, and said he was the only black child at his school.

He wanted to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and said he finally felt old enough to do something about it.

He was happy with the turnout, and said part of the movement locally was also to bring the city’s African community closer together.

Comments

Its about time the people of New Zealand recognized the racism and bias they have inflicted on the indigenous people of New Zealand and other people of colour. Talk is cheap! The real question is what are you going to do about it? How do you atone for the sins of your fathers? How do you make things right? Now is the time to talk about making things right. Affirming the wrongs, you have committed is a good first step. An apology is important too; but it’s not enough, it’s going to take more. Collectively, WE need to come together and look at restitution designed to make things right. Restitution can take many forms; money, housing, education, employment, medical benefits, land grants, tax breaks and many other programs designed to make us whole again. I don’t know how you put a value on the damage inflected on us? That’s something that still needs to be discussed. A good first step would be to get rid of the police. Move the policing functions of government to the Human Rights Tribunal where people will be handled in a more gentle and humane manner? We are moving in the right direction! Lets keep the momentum moving!

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