George Floyd protests

What 23 Boston Protesters Say to People Who Oppose the Black Lives Matter Movement

While their answers varied, they had a theme, that the equality implied by the phrase "all lives matter" isn't experienced by Black people in the U.S. today

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Over the past several weeks, as the United States reckoned with the relationship between police and people of color, we went to five protests around Boston to capture what brought participants into the streets in their words.

We came away with portraits of dozens of people of many races, nationalities, ages and reasons for protesting. One of the questions we asked over and over again was if they had a message for people who oppose Black Lives Matter protests, ones who might respond to that phrase with another: "All lives matter."

While their answers varied, they had a theme, that the equality implied by "all lives matter" isn't experienced by Black people in the country today. Watch the video above to see their responses. Here are a few:

  • "If you're one of those people that's like, 'All lives matter,' it's okay. All lives matter. But all lives don't matter until Black lives matter because if all lives matter, I don't see white people on a day-to-day basis talking about my son never came home." –Judy Davis of Dorchester
  • "You never know. You never know. You could just be an innocent person there and all of a suddenly you find yourself in the middle of something you never imagined could happen to you or your child." –Rahima Rahim, the mother of 26-year-old Usaamah Rahim, who was shot and killed by police in Boston in 2015
  • "Put yourselves in someone else's shoes. See those Black men as your sons, your daughters. And imagine if that happened to your kid. If that was you. Would Black lives matter to you?" –Pascal Opiyo of West Roxbury
  • "I understand that sometimes change is different but I challenge everyone to try to open up and do new things and try new things and get that uncomfortability because, when you're a Black person in this world and you're just trying to walk around without being bothered, that right there is uncomfortable for us." –Jasper Landrum of Grafton, Mass.

Watch our full "Protesters in Portrait" project below.

As protesters pushed for racial justice and police reform in Boston, our reporters interviewed them to find out why they're making their voices heard and what their message is in their own words.
Contact Us