Since the police killings of Breonna Taylor in March and George Floyd this past May, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the United States to call for an end to police violence—and, sometimes, the abolition of police altogether. Black Lives Matter demonstrations persisted throughout the summer despite unusually high temperatures, extensive wildfires, a global pandemic, police violence against protesters, and menacing counter-protesters (indeed, murderous in the case of Kenosha). But as the readers of EuropeNow have likely noticed, these demands for a reckoning with institutional and systemic racism have not been limited to the United States. Cities like Amsterdam, London, and Paris have seen large protests both in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and in opposition to what activists describe as their own countries’ racism, both past and present.
Jean Beaman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was previously on the faculty at Purdue University and has held visiting fellowships at Duke University and the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). Her research is ethnographic in nature and focuses on race/ethnicity, racism, international migration, and state-sponsored violence in both France and the United States.
Jennifer Fredette is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Ohio University. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she also obtained a certificate in Socio-Legal Studies. She studied Comparative Federalism at Sciences-Po Paris in 2006 and worked as a visiting research fellow at Sciences Po Bordeaux in 2008. Her areas of interest include constitutional law, comparative law, and sociolegal studies. She is currently conducting research on law and social movements in the French Caribbean.