Blinken Authorized Use of BLM Flags at US Embassies, Consulates on Floyd Anniversary Black Lives Matter banner hung at the U.S. Embassy on the anniversary of the assassination of George Floyd in Athens, Greece, on May 25, 2021. (Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via AP)
By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 27 May 2021 01:26 PM
Secretary of State Antony Blinken allowed U.S. embassies and consulates to fly the Black Lives Matter flag on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death and to commemorate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., according to an internal memo obtained by ABC News.
Floyd was murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota last year, an incident that set off worldwide protests over the treatment of black people by law enforcement.
Blinken, in the memo, said all diplomatic posts were "strongly encouraged" to use the State Department’s resources to "promote policy objectives to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities," especially on May 25 and during the month of June.
That includes support for using "the term 'Black Lives Matter' in messaging content, speeches, and other diplomatic engagements with foreign audiences to advance racial equity and access to justice on May 25 and beyond."
The high-profile Floyd case has led to the removal of statues and monuments honoring those involved with the confederacy as well as other historical figures, the renaming of streets, and other tributes.
Blinken in a video Tuesday stressed the importance of human rights at a UN meeting, saying the U.S. would not tolerate nations that break international rules.
"We can't sweep our shortcomings under the rug or pretend they don't exist. We need to face them openly and honestly, even if that's ugly — even if that's painful," he said.
His memo encourages messaging around that theme, but "as appropriate and depending on local context."
Former President Donald Trump during his tenure slammed the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it was "destroying many black lives."
"The stated goal of BLM organization, people, is to achieve the destruction of the nuclear family, abolish the police, abolish prisons, abolish border security, abolish capitalism, and abolish school choice — that's what their stated goals are," he said at a "Blacks for Trump" rally in Georgia in Sept. 2020.
He also suggested that BLM activists were "anarchists, not protesters" and referred to them as "thugs" due to a wave of violent protests that swept through American cities during the summer, largely occurring during and after BLM rallies.
American embassies in Madrid, Sarajevo, Athens and other locations prominently displayed the BLM flag on May 25.
"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," tweeted U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy, who added the hashtag "#BLM."