U.S. territory takes up 'Black Lives Matter' call

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 04 June 2020, 7:00AM

The life of the late George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter motto, will fuel a peaceful protest being planned in American Samoa for 13 June 2020.

Marissa Afualo, the Organiser of the Black Lives Matter protest in the U.S. Territory, said the people of American Samoa want to let all Americans know that they care about what is happening in the mainland United States.

“For me, this human rights movement is personal," Afualo said. 

"I look at the faces of my niece and nephew who are half African American, and can’t help but feel fear for their safety.” 

American Samoa is a U.S. Territory of the United States of America.

In many U.S. states during the past few days, protest marches have turned into outrage, violence and outright looting.

The march in American Samoa is scheduled to begin at Fatu-ma-Futi towards Utulei beach. Protestors have been asked to bring “signs, face masks an attitude and heart for justice.”

Afualo, a 30-year-old single mother from Vatia, said racism is real and they want to stand up against it in American Samoa.

“Injustice, violence, and racism plays a large role in the tragic events we have witnessed throughout the years," she said. 

"Many Samoan both from Samoa and American Samoa, are married into the African American community. So whether or not we are affected physically, we are still affected as people.” 

Afualo said this peaceful protest is one way to bring about awareness and to also voice what the people need. 

“This is standing against injustice and racism,” she said.

Another supporter, Ti’a Reid, told the Samoa Observer this is an opportunity to show "our solidarity for the Black lives matter movement." 

“And that it’s a movement that has spread globally because it is centered on the value of justice," he said.

"Black Americans have contributed so much to the fabric of our country and even globally through the arts and every field imaginable and its high time that their lives be treated with dignity. I also think that it’s not enough to just not be racist but to be anti-racist.

"And that means taking a stand against systemic racism and standing against systems that perpetuate these inequities,” said Mr Reid

He further noted this movement will show solidarity. 

“And we’re wearing masks to symbolize the importance of masks amid the pandemic and for those who lost lives to the Coronavirus.” 

The protestors in American Samoa are using Facebook to spread the word about their intentions.

New Zealand joined the peaceful protests with one even in Christchurch where an estimated 700 people participated, says Radio New Zealand. 

Furthermore R.N.Z. reports that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the situation around George Floyd's death killed by police in the US, is "horrifying".

Ardern told Morning Report that since the 15 March Christchurch mosque attacks, New Zealand has had its own conversations on racism, extremism and violence.

"That's something that I imagine as a country we will continue, and that's something that's important to us as a nation that we don't shy away from those debates and those discussions.

"No-one in New Zealand will claim perfection here, no-one. I understand the sense of urgency people felt in response to what they see." 



By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 04 June 2020, 7:00AM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.