As a Black man, Unaegbu has felt the sting of racism himself. He says Floyd’s death was a wake-up call heard around the world.
“My initial thought was, ‘Again? Another one? When will it stop?’ But, just the way that it happened, with the knee, that was brutal and it was in public,” he said. “What I was waiting for was instant justice and it didn’t come, and I just knew then, we didn’t matter.”
Floyd’s death sparked renewed calls for change, as thousands of protests denouncing police brutality and racism were held in cities across America and around the world. Kamloops residents also lent their voices to the movement.
“It took my breath away how much support in this community there actually was,” Unaegbu said. “People were gathering and people were saying enough’s enough. And a lot of it wasn’t people of colour, it was our allies.”
Despite a guilty verdict for Floyd’s killer, there are many other families who don’t have answers and haven’t seen justice served.
“Treyvon Martin, we lost that one,” Unaegbu said. “Breonna Taylor still has not been solved. There was one yesterday, a 15-year-old Black girl that got shot four times right after the verdict. The video is there, it is horrific. So we’re like, ‘Again? It had to be today?’ We’re just laying someone peacefully to rest finally and another one came. Now, we just live with it. However, we cannot be silent because, as you can see, when a voice was heard, justice was served.”
Unaegbu says racism is not a distinctly American issue and says it’s everyone’s responsibility to impact change.
“We’re talking about Black Lives Matter, we need your help, that’s what we’re talking about,” he said. “We need your help as allies, as people who can educate your kids, your friends, your family — whoever it is. That’s what we’ve been doing and we’ve been doing it a long time. It is not even close to being fixed.”