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 U.S. State Department authorized the BLM flag’s display at all U.S. “Diplomatic and Consular posts” on May 25 through a leaked memo published by Human Events.“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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.“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.