U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide displayed the flag of Black Lives Matter (BLM) — an organization founded by a self-avowed “trained Marxist” — on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, a black American who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota last May.
“The Department supports the use of 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. We encourage posts to focus on the need to eliminate systemic racism and its continued impact,” the memo read.
“This cable constitutes a blanket written authorization for calendar year 2021 from the Under Secretary for Management (M) to display the BLM flag on the external-facing flagpole to any Chiefs of Mission who determine such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions,” the memo further read while noting, “This is an authorization, not a requirement.”
U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy shared a photo to Twitter on May 24 showing the BLM flag displayed on a fence surrounding the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.
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
The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo — the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the formerly communist Balkans — heeded the call by the U.S. State Department and unfurled a large BLM flag over the front of its building.
Today marks a year since the brutal murder of George Floyd. The senseless killing spurred Black Lives Matter protests to demand an end to systemic racism, what @SecBlinken has called "a time of reckoning in our nation." pic.twitter.com/c2gPTVH1WF
— US Embassy Sarajevo (@USEmbassySJJ) May 25, 2021
Greece seemed especially eager to comply with the U.S. State Department’s memo, as the BLM flag was displayed at both the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki and at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. The U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki raised the BLM flag on its official flagpole just under the U.S. national flag.
We raise this flag to mark one year since the murder of George Floyd – we honor Mr. Floyd and stand in solidarity with other nations to advance racial justice, a key priority within U.S. foreign policy #BLM pic.twitter.com/IdApjPaJYR
— US Consulate Thess (@USConsulateThes) May 25, 2021
The U.S. Embassy in Athens draped the BLM flag across the front of its building on so that it completely covered the embassy’s official seal.
We raise this banner in honor of George Floyd, murdered one year ago today, in solidarity with people around the globe seeking a world without racial discrimination and a future with equal opportunity for all. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/cVIkfH5Yra
— U.S. Embassy Athens (@USEmbassyAthens) May 25, 2021
The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain hung a large BLM flag from the building’s roof so that it cascaded down the front of the embassy in a prominent and eye-catching fashion.
El personal de la Embajada muestra su solidaridad tras cumplirse un año del homicidio de George Floyd: “Mostramos el banner #BlackLivesMatter en la sede de la Embajada para reafirmar con rotundidad que el racismo no tiene cabida en nuestro mundo”.- Encargado de negocios Tribble. pic.twitter.com/mWfa66xgKV
— US Embassy Madrid 🇺🇸🇸 (@USembassyMadrid) May 25, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared a video to his official Twitter account on May 25 in which he echoed sentiments expressed in the leaked BLM flag memo.
On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, we remember that to be a credible force for human rights around the world, we must face the reality of racism at home. By addressing our shortcomings openly and honestly, we live up to the values that we stand for worldwide. pic.twitter.com/SIw6EAy62x
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 25, 2021
“For the United States to be a credible force for human rights around the world, we have to face the realities of racism and hatred here at home,” Blinken said in the video. “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.”
The U.S. State Department’s authorization of the BLM flag’s display at official U.S. missions in May “and beyond” comes after the department authorized U.S. embassies to raise the LGBT pride flag on the same pole as the U.S. national flag during the month of June, which is considered “pride month” by the LGBT community.
“The flags can be hung before May 17, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and stay up through the end of Pride Month,” a U.S. State Department cable instructed in April.