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Star Wars actor John Boyega is adding his voice to the anti-racism protests sweeping the world in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota, which went viral after being caught on video and led to police officer Derek Chauvin's arrest for second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and three other officers being charged with aiding and abetting murder. Boyega's vocal social media support became an in-person rallying cry during a moving speech given in London on Wednesday.
At a Hyde Park demonstration, the actor addressed crowds with a megaphone and marched with his fellow protesters. "Black lives have always mattered," Boyega said. "We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain't waiting. I ain't waiting."
Boyega, who reminded listeners that "this is so vital" while fighting back tears, spoke for almost five minutes at the protest. Readers can watch his entire speech below:
Listing other black victims of police- and race-related killings, Boyega told protesters: "We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence."
Between calling for protesters to sit and "make this as peaceful and as organized as possible," Boyega also explained that he'd weather any industry backlash his statements caused: "I’m speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that."
Boyega's been similarly clear on social media, posting messages in support of Black Lives Matter, anti-racist efforts, and protests:
The latter post warranted a follow-up where Boyega wrote: "I’ll be on ground at a few protests! Good information!" So perhaps the Hyde Park rally may not be the last time the actor hits the pavement in support of the cause.