Black Lives Matter Event Overview: Global Perspectives

July 22, 2020

UCI Office of Global Engagement recently hosted a Global Engagement event that featured international and UCI leaders exploring Black Lives Matter from multiple perspectives.


Speaker recap:


Ousmane Sene, Director West African Research Center, Senegal, began by discussing the African perspective of the Black Lives Matter movement.


  • The African Union is discussing adding the Black diaspora as a seventh region.

  • The movement was felt throughout Africa when George Floyd died because they are heavily influenced by the culture of the American diaspora, especially music and sports.

  • Thousands rallied in Dakar at Gorée memorial, a former slave port, to peacefully protest by delivering speeches and kneeling in respect.

  • Senegalese poets wrote poetry against George Floyd’s death that would be posted all over the city’s capital, and other artists produced a large mural depicting famous black figures.


Hakim Adi, Professor of the history of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester, provided perspective from the UK.


  • The Black Lives Matter movement is not as united in the UK but is certainly unprecedented in scale.

  • 150 demonstrations across every major town and city in the country rose up to declare that Britain is not innocent.

  • The UK contains many symbols glorifying colonialism and racism that are undergoing talks to be removed.

  • Campaigns are ongoing to provide a more accurate curriculum in schools, unlike the Euro-centric education presently being provided.


Marketus Presswood, UCI History Ph.D., closed out the speaker section by exploring the Chinese perspective on Black Lives Matter.


  • There have been demonstrations in Hong Kong and Taiwan but not in mainland China.

  • Order is the most important issue in Chinese politics, and demonstrations are viewed as leftists wreaking havoc on society.

  • There is still a large degree of anti-Blackness in China itself, and spending on Black education is viewed as a waste of government money.

  • An article recently published in Hong Kong quoted Stanley Nelson out of context when he disagreed with the movement, leading to the media disregarding Black Lives Matter and highlighting George Floyd’s criminality.


Notes from Q&A:


  • Senegal’s oil will be exploited differently than in the past as the population should see their fair share.

  • France and the UK have permanent representation at the United Nations but Africa does not.

  • We need to be the makers of change in bringing job and health security.

  • The COVID-19 experience in China continues to put down Africans.


UCI is committed to supporting our community members from around the world who share the values of learning and discovery to make the world a better place. The UC system complies with applicable laws and regulations and actively advocates for policies that further its academic mission.

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