The phrase symbolic of the Black Lives Matter movement has been painted near the Grafton Bridge.
The phrase symbolic of the Black Lives Matter movement has been painted near the Grafton Bridge.

Three words that resonate with the Clarence community

''I can't breathe"

These were the final words uttered by African American man George Floyd before he died at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers.

Now these words, which have become a symbol of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, have been painted across a concrete block beside the new Grafton Bridge.

Last month, video footage of a white police officer pressing his knee to Mr Floyd's neck handcuffed on the ground, and later dying from the incident, sparked nation-wide outrage over police brutality toward the African American community. Now that outrage has expanded globally, with many countries starting conversations about their own issues of racism.

While it's not known who painted 'I can't breathe' beside the Grafton Bridge, the phrase serves as a passive reminder that regional Australia is not immune to systemic racism.

While fierce protests continue across the United States in the wake of Mr Lloyd's death, in a show of solidarity, a peaceful protest in the Clarence Valley organised this weekend.

"This protest is in honour of the Aboriginal and African American lives lost due to police brutality. Australian and American," organiser Aleisha Rose Cook wrote on social media.

"America is having their protests both peaceful and destructive, but I see that we can do a peaceful sitting at market square to fight for those who cannot fight for their lives anymore and for the people who are still constantly fighting.

"Let this be our voice that hopefully the government will hear."

The protest will start at 10am, Sunday June 7 at Market Square, Grafton.

Organisers have asked that anyone wishing to attend the protest to follow social distancing rules. Anyone who is feeling unwell is also asked to remain at home for the safety of the community.



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