A gathering comprising some Ghanaians and the Africa Diaspora community yesterday, June 1, met in what was described as a ‘funeral’ for the death of George Floyd, an African American who died on 25 after after a police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis, USA. Floyd’s death has sparked outrage across the globe with many cities in the US experiencing protests at unprecedented levels in the midst of COVID-19 curfews and lockdowns.
Observing strict social gathering protocols including wearing masks and physical distancing, the group in Accra were clad in black with red wristbands to demonstrate their how grave they took the matter. Others wielded placards with inscriptions such as “Black Lives Matter” and the infamous, “I can’t breathe” which were uttered by Floyd as the police officer knelt on his neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin has since been arrested.
Rabbi Kohain Halevi of the Panafest Foundation who first addressed the gathering said, beyond the arrest, police officer and all those complicit in the death of Floyd need to be prosecuted. He said the Black race has suffered enough injustice and it was time peole rallied around Floyd’s death to demand an end to it. He said that police brutality against African-Americans has become more potent than the current Coronavirus.
“…And as victims we see that now a virus that’s been with us for too long is more potent than this temporary virus that we bound to defeat in time. The virus of White Supremacy that’s Q10 quip 9 reduced the value of African lives throughout centuries but now we are saying enough is enough. And we cannot continue to sit down and be quiet while centuries and generations of this pain continue to mount up,”he said.
The highly respected Rabbi added that the fight to end racism and its accompanying injustices is should be the preoccupation of every Black across the surface of the earth.
He said “And no one should mistake, as long as you’re Black, you’re African, no matter where you’re whether in America, South America or in Africa, and we are victimized for the colour of our skin and for our origin and we owe it to our ancestors to end this cycle of pain.”
Re-echoing his sentiments was the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of the Beyond the Return, Akwasi Agyeman who stated,” one of us was murdered in such cold blood, so we cannot be and we cannot look on. “So on behalf on the Beyond the Return Committee we are here to show solidarity to our brothers and sisters who are here as we all march to present our petition that enough is enough. This is one more death too many and it must stop.”
Head of Mission at the Diaspora African Forum, Dr. Erieka Bennett said the event was not just not a protest but a funeral to mourn the death of victims of racial abuse and systemic injustices that have been meted out Black peolple over the years. A signed petition highlighting the concerns of the Diaspora Community was presented to the American Embassy. Ace Broadcasters including Abeiku Aggrey Santana and Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) were part of the protesters.