Just over a dozen people turned up outside the US Embassy on Monday to rally in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests in the US.
The protesters sat and held their placards in a physically distanced line in the Queen's Park Savannah, across the road from the embassy in Port of Spain.
Artiste and activist Abeo Jackson said she felt there is an obligation for people in the diaspora to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the US.
There have been huge gatherings and clashes with police across the US and elsewhere since police killed George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25.
“This is not the time when we are supposed to hijack black voices in America, but to listen and amplify them.
"Yes, we have our own systemic institutionalised issues that we need to work on, in terms of social reform and inherited colonial legacies, but right now it’s about black voices in the US and the diaspora. When we look at the process that went into ending apartheid in South Africa, it wasn’t just because of what was happening in South Africa, it was about what was happening around the world and the fact that the diaspora amplified everything that was happening in South Africa at the time. So, I think it would be remiss of us as members of the black diaspora to ignore what’s happening in the US.
"We can’t have an entity like the US on our soil thinking that we’re not seeing what’s going on and what they’re perpetrating in other parts of the world, so I wanted to come and sit.”
Retiree Christine David-Lewis said she was 11 when the Black Power Revolution happened in Trinidad. She said while she grew up with a certain amount of privilege, as someone with a lighter skin, she was always conscious of having ancestors who had been enslaved and survived.
“We still have people who are enslaved by virtue of others treating them as less, and that’s wrong. Our ancestors did not survive for our descendants to be tossed aside, and if we don’t stand up for what’s wrong, we’re allowing it. I can’t do anything about what’s happening anywhere else in the world, but I can say that it is wrong and it has to change. I’m here supporting the young people and I would like to see some difference before God closes my eyes.”
Other protesters said they came out because they were fearful for their family and friends living in the US and wanted to show their support for the movement.
Activist Terry-Ann Roy said it was important for Trinidadians to support those currently fighting for Black Lives Matter because injustice anywhere in the world affects everyone.
“So many of us have friends and family members in the US so systematic oppressions and racism affects them and us. A lot of our culture and the things we look up to happen in the US, so even though the current unrest is situated in the US, I think it’s affecting every part of the world.
"I think systematic racism and institutionalised racism is present in every part of the world, it just manifests itself in different ways, so one of the reasons we’re here today is to raise our voices to say black lives matter even in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. We also have so many instances of injustices, police brutality, sometimes we feel the rule of law and due process aren’t being adhered to and that there’s a need for greater transparency. So we’re here to represent not just people in the US but to make a statement that here too we need to fight injustices.”
The protesters were eventually moved along by police from the St Clair station who said they were told about the protest in a phone call.
The protesters were told the gathering numbered more than five people, and also that they needed a permit in order to hold a protest.