#BlackLivesMatter groups nationwide released balloons honoring police murder victims Sunday. The actions were timed to coincide with the Super Bowl’s kickoff, occurring in places such as Atlanta and outside the Arizona Cardinals Satadium.
Around fifteen people showed up for the NYC balloon release outside the Barclays Center.
“Today, we’re releasing black balloons in the sky for black lives that have been lost due to police violence, and the injustice system behind it that allows police officers to go free,” said Occu-Evolve leader Sumumba Sobukwe, who organized the Brooklyn event.
Watch the balloons being released here:
Gathered in a circle, participants released the balloons after saying the names of those killed by police. They continued shouting names, even after all the balloons were gone, and concluded with the “I Can’t Breathe” song, now a hallmark of police brutality protests across the country.
“Every single day, the pressure should be kept on to change things in this country,” commented Manhattan resident and independent activist Christina Winsor after the action.”There’s institutionalized racism that comes out in such a way that black people and brown people especially are murdered with impunity by the state, by law enforcement for non-violent crimes.”
“When it comes to sports, people will cheer for black men playing, entertaining them and playing sports, playing basketball, playing football and such,” said Khadija Amon-ra, discussing why it was important to do the action during the Super Bowl.
“However the same vigor they cheer on black people who are athletic, they need to cheer on black men getting educated, black men staying out of prison, black men living, and being able to prosper here in America, as everyone should have the opportunity to.”
The events were part of “All Roads Lead To Phoenix,” a mass effort by #BlackLivesMatter to publicize their message on perhaps the biggest sporting night in America-when, on average, almost 100 million eyes are glued to their television sets, per SportingCharts.
“We are challenging Arizona’s moral and social status quo. As long as the status quo allows others to perpetrate the violence of systemic racism on black people, we will not be silent or immobile,” commented Jarrett Maupin, a #BlackLivesMatter organizer, to AZCentralin December.
Noting that most NFL players are black males, Maupin added that “a lot of them are struggling with these issues as well. They are not anti-police, but they are pro-youth. And they’re worried about the kids who look up to them. So, yes, this issue is impacting players too. That’s why we have to have this conversation.”