"Black lives have always mattered," said the actor during his emotional speech to peaceful protesters

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 03, 2020 01:20 PM
Advertisement

John Boyega is joining those protesting for justice after the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

On Wednesday, the Star Wars actor, 28, spoke to a crowd gathered at Hyde Park in London for a peaceful protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Boyega used the moment to thank supporters and encourage their continued activism, while admitting he doesn't know if he'll "have a career after this."

"This is very important; this is very vital," he told the demonstrators in an emotional moment, captured on-camera by the U.K. outlet Evening Standard. "Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important, we have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless — and now is the time."

"I ain't waiting! I ain't waiting!" Boyega continued as fellow protesters cheered.

The actor got emotional as he voiced how everyday racism has affected him, trying to convey to listeners how "painful" it is.

John Boyega speaks to the crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park on Wednesday in London.
Dan Kitwood/Getty

"I need you guys to understand how painful this s--- is! I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that 'your race means nothing.' And that isn't the case anymore," he said.

"It is very, very important that we keep control in this moment and we make this as peaceful as possible," Boyega said. "... Because you know what, guys? They want us to mess up. They want us to be disorganized — but not today!"

John Boyega speaks in Hyde Park, London, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday.
Photo by David Parry/Shutterstock

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

Through tears, Boyega then addressed black men specifically, saying, "We need to take care of black women."

"They are our hearts; they are our future," he said. "We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children they love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings. That's what we need to create."

Boyega stressed to protesters that their activism shouldn't end when they leave the demonstrations. It's a "lifelong dedication," he explained.

"We can all join together to make this a better world," he said. "We can all join together to make this special."

RELATED VIDEO: Beyoncé, Oprah and More Stars Share Powerful Messages as Protests Erupt Over George Floyd's Death

Last week, Boyega made it clear on social media that he condemns all racism while responding to Floyd's death. The actor wrote on Twitter, “I really f— hate racists,” and defended his unflinching statements saying, “This is my own personal account. I am not here for the kids.”

Boyega continued to respond to individual Twitter users criticizing his approach, and he later spoke out on Instagram, stressing that he wouldn’t be apologizing for standing up for himself.

“[If] you think someone like me is gonna back down, that’s very, very mad. It’s very important that we ignore ignorance, that we ignore people that come through and try to make these situations what they’re not,” he said during a live video. “So I say it again, f— you racist white people. I said what I said.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.