black lives matter plaza
Credit: ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP via Getty Images

After two weeks of heartache, violence, justice and peaceful displays of solidarity, the past weekend has seen some of the best displays in humanity and allyship in recent years. Following the killing of George Floyd, protests erupted across America in almost every state and by the weekend, marches were seen in major cities throughout the world, including here in Australia. Looking past fear mongering and the spotlight on destruction – only a small aspect of these protests – positive change and movement has been made for #BlackLivesMatter.

From Minneapolis declaring it will dismantle its police department to the mural painted on 16th Street in Washington D.C., here are the most powerful moments from a movement gaining massive momentum – a weekend for the history books.

Minneapolis will dismantle its police department

No one will ever forget the moment George Floyd’s life was taken at the hands of a white police officer. It was the spark that would ignite massive protests across the country. The officers involved have been charged but residents are hungry for more and over the weekend, the Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle the police department, with a “new model of public safety” to be created.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 29: Jamela J. Pettiford sings during a protest with Former NBA player Stephen Jackson in response to the police killing of George Floyd outside the Hennepin County Government Center on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jackson, who was friends with George Floyd, spoke at a press conference before joining the protest. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

‘black lives matter’ was painted on 16th street in front of the white house

President Donald Trump’s response to the protests has been heavily criticised. In a defiant move from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), the council leader sanctioned the painting of ‘Black Lives Matter’ onto 16th Street which runs towards the White House in yellow, block letters. A portion of the thoroughfare was also renamed to “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

READ: IN ONE CITY, A PLEAD FOR PEACE. IN THE CAPITAL, A MAJOR CALL TO ARMS

“There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen and to have their humanity recognised,” Bowser said during a news conference Friday. “And we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city. That message is to the American people that black lives matter, black humanity matters, and we as a city raise that up.”

The mural is believed to be visible from some satellites and has been recognised by Google and Apple maps.

protestors threw edward colston statue into the harbour

Edward Colston was known as an 17th and 18th century slave trader believed to have transported 84,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas. His statue, until now, stood in Bristol in the UK with protestors throwing the bronze into the harbour over the weekend. Mayor Marvin Rees said he felt no “sense of loss” after it was pulled down, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as a “criminal act”. Police made the decision not to intervene according to reports.

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Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

in australia, thousands turned up to protest justice for indigenous lives

In every major city around Australia, citizens turned up in tens of thousands to protest for the lives of the Aboriginal community. In Sydney, New South Wales, it was ruled unlawful to attend the march due to COVID-19 risks on Friday by the Supreme Court. At the eleventh hour and a dramatic turn of events, the New South Wales Court of Appeal ruled it lawful and allowed the “Stop All Black Deaths in Custody” rally to go ahead. 20,000 people were accounted for in attending the peaceful protest. As of Tuesday morning, 437 Indigenous people have died in Australian police custody according to The Guardian.

READ: HOW INDIGENOUS ARTISTS ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF THE CREATIVE SECTOR

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 06: Thousands of protestors marching in solidarity with “Black Lives Matter” down Castlereagh Street in the CBD on June 06, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The event was organised to rally against aboriginal deaths in custody in Australia as well as in solidarity with protests across the United States following the killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

michelle obama encourages activism past hashtags and posts

Following on from husband and former U.S. President Barack Obama’s Town Hall Address, Michelle Obama delivered her virtual graduation speech this weekend. During her address, she spoke on police brutality and activism, urging people to do more than hashtags and posts in a bid for real change.

“Sometimes it’s easier to stand with strangers at a protest than it is to challenge someone in your own backyard. So if you hear people express bigoted views or talking down to ‘those people,’ it is up to you to call them out. Because we won’t solve anything if we’re only willing to do what’s easiest. You’ve got to make hard choices and sacrifice. If you’re spending a lot of time just hash tagging and posting, that’s useful, especially during a pandemic, but it’s only a beginning. Go further. Send all your friends a link to register to vote. Text everybody you know to join you to exercising their constitutional right to protest.”

READ: BARACK OBAMA MAKES A STATEMENT, WORTHY OF A PRESIDENT

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