Hundreds braved the heatwave on Saturday to attend the first official Black Lives Matter solidarity rally in Taipei.

Black Lives Matter Global Initiative, the rally organizer, said the Taipei rally is not a political protest but a peaceful rally for people to come together and support the cause.

The demonstrators were asked to take a knee for a minute to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.


Photo Credit: CNA

Demonstrators take a knee to show solidarity at the Black Lives Matter rally in Taipei on June 13, 2020.

Juanita Ingram, an American lawyer based in Taipei, said the situation in the United States is “concerning” but necessary changes are taking place. “I hope countries all over the world can show solidarity because we’re all global citizens,” Ingram told The News Lens.

Having moved to Taipei almost a year ago, Ingram said racism still exists in Taiwan but more often in micro-aggresive ways. Taiwanese would sometimes get off the elevator if she walked in, or retail staff would follow her around the store closely. “But I can’t wear a badge and say this is Juanita Ingram, I’m an attorney and I’m safe,” she said.

More open dialogue and exchange like coming together for a solidarity rally is a step forward, she added. “But being a lawyer, I am more focused on legislation that needs to be in place... and laws that can effectuate change,” Ingram said.

Juanita Ingram attends Taipei’s Black Lives Matter rally with her daughter on June 13, 2020.

The Indigenous Youth Front also took the occasion to express concerns over indigenous rights in Taiwan. Savungaz Valincinan, a representative of the organization, said her people have faced colonization and authoritarian regimes in the past 400 years.

“When the Japanese came, they wanted us to have Japanese names and speak Japanese. Then when the Chinese came, they wanted us to have Han names and learn Mandarin,” Valincinan told the crowd, noting that racism against indigenous in Taiwan is not often violent today but found in subtle forms of oppression.

“We’ve been unable to adapt to the so-called modern society and became people who need to be subsidized and pitied. Yet those benefits for us have become a different form of colonization,” Valincinan said.

The Black Lives Matter movement took hold in the U.S. in 2014 after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The anti-racism campaign recently reignited in a global wave of demonstrations against police brutality and systematic racial oppression after the death of George Floyd in May.

At the end of the Taipei rally, the organizers encouraged people to also attend a later demonstration for the one-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

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TNL Editor: Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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