United States embassies around the world have been authorized by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to fly Black Lives Matter flags and banners as part of the Biden administration’s response to the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
Black Lives Matter banners were shown hanging outside the U.S. embassies in Spain and Greece, among other countries.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 25, 2021
“As we mark the 1-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we are reminded of injustices that persist and our commitment — and obligation — to seek justice, equality, and respect for all. #BLM,” the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy wrote in a Twitter post.
As we mark the 1-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we are reminded of injustices that persist and our commitment – and obligation – to seek justice, equality, and respect for all. #BLM pic.twitter.com/udiyt5JMaY
— Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy (@USAmbCambodia) May 25, 2021
An internal State Department cable, reported by Foreign Policy, gave U.S. chiefs of missions — the heads of the country’s embassies and consulates around the world — “blanket written authorization” to display Black Lives Matter flags and banners as “appropriate in light of local conditions.”
The directive added that this was an “authorization, not a requirement,” according to Foreign Policy.
The United States Embassy in Sarajevo posted its display of the banner to Twitter and wrote that the United States has often not lived up to the vision of equality it was founded on.
“Systemic racism has prevented us from becoming the ‘more perfect union’ referenced in the preamble to our Constitution,” the embassy tweeted.
Though founded on a vision of equality, the 🇺🇸 has often not lived up to that ideal. Systemic racism has prevented us from becoming the “more perfect union” referenced in the preamble to our Constitution.
— US Embassy Sarajevo (@USEmbassySJJ) May 25, 2021
The embassy went on to cite President Joe Biden’s racial equity executive order.
“Based on the premise that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths, it committed to federal gov to pursuing equity for all and to the hard work of combatting systemic racism and discrimination,” the embassy tweeted.
One unnamed U.S. diplomat said that flags were a “historic step in the right direction,” according to Foreign Policy.
“However, we will need to see much more than BLM flags to signal the department is substantively bridging the disconnect between our domestic record on racial injustice and global rhetoric on human rights,” the diplomat told the publication.
Biden was set to meet Tuesday with George Floyd’s family at the White House, according to ABC News.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was passed by the House of Representatives in March but has not yet been considered in the Senate, where it would need at least 10 Republicans to support the measure.
The bill aims to increase law enforcement accountability through a number of avenues including ending no-knock warrants, banning chokehold and ending qualified immunity for police officers, which limits civil lawsuits against officers accused of violating civil rights.
Biden wanted to get police reform passed by the first anniversary of Floyd’s death.
Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, Republican Sen. Tim Scott and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker have been working to bridge the divide between the Floyd bill and a Republican proposal that Democrats rejected because they said it didn’t go far enough.
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