Black Lives Matter

Every year, the Sydney Peace Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation partnered with the University of Sydney, presents the Sydney Peace Prize to activists fighting for positive social or environmental change.

The prize, which includes a $500,000 award, provides a platform for the activists to increase their reach and spread awareness for their causes. It has been presented annually since 1998 and is a valuable form of recognition of non-violent, influential activism. Last year’s award recipient was author and environmental activist, Naomi Klein. 

One year ago, Colin Kaepernick, then-quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers National Football League team, refused to stand for the US national anthem, famously kneeling instead. He was alone in his protest.

Over the weekend of September 23-24, tens of millions of football fans watched on TV as 200 mostly Black players knelt or raised their fists while the national anthem was sung. The rest of their teams stood in solidarity with their right to protest, arm-in-arm. In some cases, entire teams stayed in the locker room while the anthem played.

Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Phoenix, Arizona when US President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on August 22, the first since his administration was engulfed by mass outrage following his remarks about the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, that included a far-right terrorist attack that left one peaceful protester dead.

Tens of thousands of people mobilized in Boston on August 19 in a magnificent display of solidarity against a rally that far-right and neo-Nazi forces had been organising for weeks.

Defying sweltering summer heat and humidity, thousands marched and chanted their way through the streets of Boston.

About 15,000 took part in a two-mile march from Roxbury Crossing to Boston Common, where the white supremacists were gathering. But by the time the march arrived, the two-dozen or so fascists had already packed up and left, with the help of a heavy police escort.

Appearing before a backdrop of smiling uniformed police officers on July 28, US President Donald Trump encouraged the brutalisers in blue to be more abusive and violent toward people they arrest in a speech given at Suffolk County Community College on New York’s Long Island.

It is important to note that while the vitriolic right-wing government opposition is concentrated among the white and economically elite elements of the population, the barrios, shanty towns and rural areas that are home to the poor, Indigenous communities and the Afro-Venezuelans have not erupted into protest for the most part because they support the government. In order to understand the roots of the elite opposition's hate and racism toward Black and Indigenous government supporters, one has to understand the history of the presidency that preceded Maduro's – that of Hugo Chavez.

“Now we’re judging people by their religion — trying to keep Muslims out,” said Stan Van Gundy, head coach of the US National Basketball Association (NBA) team Detroit Piston in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

“We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews. That’s where we’re heading.”

“Trump’s America,” wrote a leading African American journalist, Charles Blow in the New York Times, January 30, “is not America: not today’s or tomorrow’s, but yesterday’s.

“Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.”

There is a lot of disgust toward Trump and his white nationalist strategist Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a leading promoter of conspiracy theories and white supremacists.

Days of angry protests have hit Paris and other French cities after police raped and bashed a 22-year-old Black man on February 2.

Windows were smashed and fires were started in Paris's Menilmontant district on the night of February 8, TeleSUR English said the next day. Activists took to the streets to call for justice for “Theo” after French police were charged over his rape and abuse during a raid on a housing estate in the working-class department of Seine-Saint-Denis. One of the police officers has been charged with rape, while three others were charged with assault.

Serena Williams and Common discuss race, gender and sport in an ESPN interview.

One of the best tennis players and athletes of all time, US star Serena Williams has been scrutinised so much for being a strong, Black woman that she herself began to doubt her own strength and body, the star told her long-time friend and rapper, Common, in a special ESPN interview last month.

“There was a time where I didn’t feel incredibly comfortable about my body because I felt like I was too strong,” Williams said during the one hour-long ESPN special, The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena with Common.

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