“This is a shared feeling of hurt.”
We had a protest in Madrid on Sunday. We tried to keep it mum at first, because here you need a permit. We dressed in all black, we had signs. Our group specifically went and put armbands on honoring the names of people that had passed. We did groups of 10 to social distance. Also, one of the rules here is that if you’re going to go out and be in public, then you could only be in a group of 10 people max.
What happened that was really magical was, we planned for just our 10. We have a group out here called SOS Racismo Madrid. We were standing there in silence, they’re on another side chanting, screaming. We did a die-in as well. Then they asked me to speak and then they spoke in Spanish as well. One thing we were chanting, it was all in Spanish: “Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, we won’t forget you.”
Having an American passport here is kind of having a golden ticket. Unfortunately that’s not the same for some black people here in Madrid. We feel that way back at home about our police, but they feel the same way here in Madrid where there’s a lot of undocumented citizens. Or if they are documented, they are kind of berated on a daily basis.
This was done in an era where everything is able to be recorded. This time it was the actual image of this man, the life leaving his eyes, the words he was saying, the cop looking straight into the camera and people begging for him to stop. People who said they don’t see the difference in color before, and they don’t see why black people in the States are still talking about slavery and oppression, they were able to see it then. They were able to have it right in front of their face. It’s unfortunate that it took this long for people to maybe get on our side, but it’s meant to change the world now. Hopefully people will start listening.
—Maya Balfour, 26, teacher
“This is nothing new, so maybe we’re re-evaluating society and what matters.”
Iceland is a really homogenous nation, but it’s slowly changing. I see myself as an Icelander, but people would come up to me and ask me where I’m from and I would be like, “I’m from Breiðholt.” They’re like, “No, I mean where are you really from?” Then I would be like, “I’m really from here” and they’re like, “No, it can’t be true.”