Millions of activists lined streets around the world last week in solidarity with the US Black Lives Matter movement, following the brutal murder of 46-year-old George Floyd. His death sparked a global outrage with protests taking place in cities from London to Tokyo, Sydney to Auckland, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Pretoria, Dublin and many, many more.
On Sunday, protesters in Bristol tore down a statue of slave master Edward Colston and threw it into the city's harbour. As well as many other protests across the UK, activists in London gathered at the US Embassy and Parliament Square for speeches, chants and sombre moments of kneeling in solidarity.
Children hung Black Lives Matter signs outside their windows as they cheered on protesters; mini sound systems blasted Bashy’s "Black Boys" as people from all backgrounds sung, danced and revelled in shared hope; protesters chanted "stop killing the mandem" as "The Electric Slide" echoed around Parliament Square. The mood at the Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday felt like a celebration of Blackness.
While there has been a feeling of hopelessness during the coronavirus crisis, where millions have been confined to their homes under lockdown, it feels safe to say that finally there's a whiff of change in the air, which even the former US president has sniffed out.
In a speech to young people last week, Barack Obama said their activism has been a source of hope for him. "You have helped to make the entire country feel as if this is something that's got to change," he said. "You've communicated a sense of urgency. That is as powerful and as transformative as anything that I've seen in recent years."
Sunday's protest in London felt more like Notting Hill Carnival, with thousands of people dancing, laughing and marching in solidarity. Refinery29 was keen to hear of the impact the protests were having on some of the young women and girls making their voices heard, so we headed down to ask them whether they felt this time was different. This is what they had to say.