Black Lives Matter 2020

Welcome to our collection of Black Lives Matter 2020 Protest Signs, gathered from across the Netherlands from demonstrations in Amsterdam, Bijlmer, Rotterdam, Almere, The Hague, and Utrecht. The following material contained within The Black Archives archival database contains images, words, and phrases which may be harmful or traumatising for certain individuals.

Our archive of Black Lives Matter protest signs was established shortly after the demonstrations were carried out on June 1st 2020. The vast majority of the signs were left by protesters at the site of the demonstrations and were subsequently collected by staff at The Black Archives to memorialise the protests and their wider socio-political contexts in 2020. Our digital archive has been built to reflect the grassroots, community-based approach of The Black Archives as best as possible, not only being constructed by members of the community but more importantly in a way that seeks to interact with the wider community moving forward.

With this in mind, feel free to make suggestions and corrections to the signs already in our archives by going to the bottom of an individual item page and clicking 'Click Here to Provide a Correction or Suggestion for this Item'. Or alternatively, even contribute your own BLM sign to the archive by clicking the 'Contribute an Item' button in the top navigation bar. With your help, we can continue to act as an accessible community archive - for the community, by the community.

About The Collection

#BlackLivesMatter started as a hashtag after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's murderer in the US back in 2013. The hashtag grew into a movement initiated by three Black women - two of them Queer - Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors.

In the summer of 2020, more than 60,000 people took to the streets throughout the Netherlands during the historic #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations. On June 1, 2020, more than 14,000 people attended a demonstration on Dam Square. On June 10, 2020, more than 10,000 people demonstrated in the Nelson Mandelapark in Amsterdam Southeast.

The protests showed solidarity between people who - after the murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and George Floyd - opposed anti-black police violence in the US and wanted to make a fist against institutional racism in the Netherlands.

Although this movement against racism never previously mobilized such large numbers of people, archival research from The Black Archives shows that there is a much longer history of anti-racism than many initially think. We believe that education is one of the most important methods for not only combating but also preventing racism, discrimination and inequality in The Netherlands. It is therefore essential that the historic 2020 protests - which have come to define this rapidly developing anti-racism movement - are recorded and archived to achieve this end.

Racism is a system that perpetuates inequality. Anti-black racism is a specific form of racism that affects black people. It is rooted in a long history of slavery and colonialism. Anti-black racism is also a structural problem in the Netherlands - and also in Amsterdam. The protest signs reflect the thoughts, points of view and vision of the many protesters. The intention is to archive these for educational and artistic purposes.

The Black Archives calls on you to archive your own protest signs and contribute to the legacy of the 2020 BLM protests by clicking on 'Contribute an Item' in the top navigation bar!

 

One Year On

On June 1, 2020, the largest demonstration against anti-black racism in the history of the Netherlands took place. More than 15,000 people gathered to show solidarity with people who oppose anti-black racism in the US following the brutal police murder of #GeorgeFloyd, and to show that this problem also occurs in the Netherlands. In the days and weeks that followed, more than 50,000 people took to the streets during solidarity demonstrations in The Hague, Leeuwarden, Heerlen, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Middelburg, Almere, and many other cities. Never before have so many people taken to the streets throughout the Netherlands to collectively stand up against institutional racism.

It was a moment of hope, togetherness and solidarity. There was a special energy in the air. People who had never previously dared to speak out stood together with protest signs in hand on Dam Square, in Nelson Mandela Park, on the Erasmus Bridge and in many other locations across the country.

The protests made an impression. It was the news of the day. Public debate was dominated by the subject of racism. Even Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that 'systemic racism' exists, and invited representatives of #KOZP and the #BlackLivesMatter protests to initiate a conversation. For a moment it felt like change was imminent. A year later, we can look back on the period after the #BlackLivesMatter protests and ask:

"How is the Netherlands doing a year after the #BlackLivesMatter protests?"

When we look at the political decision-making since June 2020, radical changes have not yet taken place. On the contrary, a historically high number of far-right MPs were elected this year. And while the #BlackLivesMatter protests have largely focused on racist police brutality and ethnic profiling, laws that make it harder to hold police officers accountable for disproportionate police brutality have also been passed in the past 12 months. The Rutte III cabinet fell due to the “Toeslagenschandaal” (benefits scandal) in which ethnic profiling played an important role. After Sint Maarten filed a racism complaint against the Dutch government at the UN, the Netherlands was no longer willing to provide Coronasupport. It showed typical neo-colonial behaviour towards Sint Maarten.

It seems there is still a long way to go...

Anti-black and institutional racism is a legacy of a long history of more than 300 years of colonialism and slavery. A history in which Black people, African people (and other peoples) were seen as means of production rather than as human beings. That legacy of more than 300 years of anti-black racism cannot be solved within a year.

The fight against racism is therefore a marathon and not a sprint. As long as this legacy is still harmfully visible, we must continue to organize and fight for a free of racism. Don't let the fight against anti-black racism stop at a hashtag.

Sign the Black Manifesto via www.zwartmanifest.nl and join the movement.

BLM Protest Signs

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A Collection of BLM Protest Signs from Dam Square, Bijlmer, Utrecht, Almere, The Hague, and Rotterdam (2020).

This Collection highlights the…