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Image / Editorial

Irish women tell us why they marched for Black Lives Matter

by Katie Byrne
02nd Jun 2020

More than 5,000 people marched through the streets of Dublin yesterday in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. IMAGE spoke to some of the women who turned out to show their support

Anja Zapla, Kelsey Mahoney, Kiera Brady

Anja: “If we white people don’t stand up they’re going to continue having this strike so we want to help as a bigger picture. We might be on a lockdown but this is a bigger thing than a lockdown.”

Kelsey: “People in Ireland are racist. You wouldn’t really notice that they’re racist — it’s more that they’ll treat you unfairly. I’ve dealt with it; friends have dealt with it. It’s not like, ‘you’re a n*****’, it’s more treating them unfairly to how they would treat a white person.

“People marching here today are representing black people in Ireland too — it’s not only about George Floyd. It’s about people from all over the world.”

Kiera: “I’ve grown up around black people and they’re a better vibe. They are! And if everyone doesn’t stand up it’s going to continue. And it’s not just black people. Take for example coronavirus — that’s getting blamed on Chinese people. It shouldn’t be about race — we’re the human race. We need to all stand together.”

Maisie McMahon and Alice O’Brien

Maisie: “I’m here to show support to all the black people in Dublin and around the world that are being treated so unfairly.”

Alice: “I think white people need to use their privilege to fight alongside black people.”

Hollie Leddy-Flood

“I get passionate every time this happens in the US. And I’ve witnessed so much racism here in Ireland, especially on the Luas. I remember seeing the Gardai come on to the Luas and take these young black kids off. They said they had been seen passing a note or a package. And they were just young, sweet kids.”

Tegan Darcy and Niamh Donoghue

Tegan: “I’m watching what’s going on in America and it sickens me. It’s disgusting. And it sparked a huge racial debate here as well which is really important. Racism can often go under the radar here and I think this is bringing awareness to it.”

Niamh: “One of Tegan’s parents is black and another is white and she was telling me a couple of the experiences that she had when she was growing up — slurs her family experienced.

“I know I’m not personally going to experience any racism but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything about it. I know we’re not getting our government to do anything today but it’s an act of solidarity.

“It’s hard enough to social distance when you’re in a protest but it was really nice being around people again.”

Leah Finlay

“Me and my friend [Aoife, below] got the bus in. We feel like it’s our place as white people to stand alongside the black community, especially after the horrible things that have been happening in the US. It’s good to see so many people who aren’t directly affected by this feeling so passionately about it.”

Aoife Sheridan

“It’s crazy the amount of people who showed up. My friend and I were both really anxious in the crowd — we don’t want to get the virus and we’re really cautious about our families as well, but it’s just such an important cause. I felt like I genuinely had to be here. My body had to be here — for everyone.”

Niamh and Ciara McGrath 

Niamh: “I’ve been watching the news on social media and I felt it was important to come in today. It was really moving.”

Ciara: “I’ve been watching the news for the whole week and I was just heartbroken and disgusted by what was going on. There’s police brutality all over the world and it can happen here as well. I was moved today by the really nice vibe in town — I was actually nearly in tears when everyone started chanting.”

Alice Moran

“I came out in solidarity with what’s going on in the States. The feeling was really strong – you could feel the emotions from everybody going towards something positive. It was really heartwarming.

“There was one moment when we heard someone yell ‘F*** the police’ and nobody said anything. Everybody went silent and it was like, that’s not what we’re doing here, buddy. That’s not what we’re here for.”

Read more: How coronavirus, Amy Cooper and the murder of George Floyd have converged to create a firestorm of protest in the US

Read more: You are a racist. Yes, you.

Read more: Hit Me Up: My in-laws keep making racist, sexist and homophobic comments

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