Anthony Joshua delivered an impassioned speech during a Black Lives Matter rally in his native town of Watford.
The unified world heavyweight champion was attending the march in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 30-year-old was wearing a jumper with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ and was one of many hundreds of people who processed through Watford town centre twice on Saturday.
Joshua used a scooter and crutches to attend the rally as he recovers from a knee injury sustained in training. But the IBF, WBA and WBO champion was fit enough to stand as he received a microphone to deliver a speech from the middle of the crowd.
During his address he spoke out against looting and rioting, urging protestors to respect Floyd’s memory and the Black Lives Matter movement with peaceful demonstrations.
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Below is Anthony Joshua’s address to those in attendance, in full.
“We can no longer from today onward be proud, we can no longer remain silent on the senseless unlawful killing, sly racism of another human being based only on what? Their skin colour. We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations just like today. So well done Watford, inject the vaccine. We must not use the demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting. We need to be united in non-violent demonstrations. Show them where it hurts, abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.
“And that’s for all communities if you want to uplift yourselves, invest in your own businesses. We have to engage with the youth – I completely agree with that – and put an end to black youth gang culture. I’m gunna be real with you about gang culture. I’m down to riot 100 per cent but what you have to realise – it’s done. It is done, trust me. Unless you wanna be sitting in jail, spending years upon years of your only life that you have thinking about ‘yeah, they can lock the locks but they can’t stop the clocks’. That’s all done because there’s too much cameras, too much intelligence.
All the OGs that I know are telling me ‘bro it’s finished, it’s finished’. Gang life is finished and that’s what we’re saying. I know that I’m not promoting no gangster business. I’m a legit, straight forward hustler – that’s just in my DNA and in my blood. But I know I’ve taken my street knowledge and put it into the corporate world and I’ve gained a lot of respect in that sense. So anyway, gang culture is done.
“So, where was I. We have to engage with the youth and put an end to black youth gang culture. This postcode war – how many houses do we own on that postcode that we’re fighting for? Let’s inject the vaccine. Every life matters – 100 per cent I agree with that. But that does include black lives and that’s why we’re here today. George Floyd – we’re all aware of his name – was the catalyst in a list that is already way, way, way too long.
“But ask yourself a question: ‘How does the looting for the latest flatscreen TV help him or his family?’ How does burning down shops and taking another life stop the virus from spreading?’ And remember the virus we’re talking about is racism. Killing a person outright is unforgivable, but stripping them of their human rights, oppressing them, mocking them, insulting them, placing glass ceilings above them because of what – their skin colour – is just a slower way of killing them and taking the life out of their soul. We must unite as the human race and that’s what we’re doing here today. So once again, thank you very much.”
Photo Credit: Getty