Powerful images have emerged of Kiwi UFC star Israel Adesanya at the Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland yesterday as scenes that started in America sweep across the globe.
More than 30 cities in the US have seen protests and riots sparked by the death of black man George Floyd, who died when a white police office pressed his knee to the 46-year-old's neck for nearly nine minutes.
The sports world has joined the chorus speaking out against racial injustice in the midst of the chaotic scenes we're witnessing Stateside and Adesanya spoke at a gathering of more than 4000 protesters in Auckland.
The reigning middleweight champion, who was born in Nigeria but fights under the Kiwi flag after he moved to New Zealand as a child, delivered an emotional address saying he was "p***ed" off at the prejudice against black people that has existed for far too long.
"I have to speak up. I've been doing it for like the last two weeks — for the last two weeks on my (Instagram) stories, if you watch it, you see it. I've been angry," he said.
"I'm p***ed off. How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your back just so they don't think you're stealing?
"How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try and make the person who you can see is already scared of you make them feel comfortable?
"I just moved (apartments) and I'm on the top floor and I have to go in the elevator. Three times already I've had to have racist, scared white people jump when they see me, and I smile at them.
"So now I've got to stay to the side and let them walk through just so they don't get scared when they see me. Why? Because I'm black. Just because I'm black. What did I do? I didn't have a choice. If I had a choice, I'd still be black."
Adesanya said people from all backgrounds need to unite if the world is truly going to make a difference about ingrained racism.
"After this, we're gonna march. But we've been talking for so long, we've been marching for so long. But it's not about us now," he said.
"Shoutout to all the white people, all the people of different races being here because we need you.
"We need you to speak up, we need you to say something because … I'm sick and tired of seeing those faces get killed because guess what? I see myself in them, the whole time, and it's heartbreaking, man."
An estimated 4000 people gathered in central Auckland to attend the Black Lives Matter March for Solidarity. The group travelled from Aotea Square to the US Consulate General on Customs St. Other demonstrations occurred in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.