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‘Enough is enough’: Claressa Shields speaks out about police violence and the killing of George Floyd

Multi-weight world champion boxer Claressa Shields spoke at a protest against police killings of black people.

Claressa Shields v Ivana Habazin - Media Workout Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

[CW: This story includes reference to police violence]

Claressa Shields, the undefeated WBO and WBC light middleweight champion and former undisputed middleweight champion of the world, was in her home town of Flint, MI this weekend. There she marched in protest and spoke out about police violence and racism in America.

Shields, the first American boxer to win back to back gold medals, attended one of thousands of protests that have taken place since the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and countless other Black Americans,

She told Sky Sports that she did not plan to attend her hometown protest, but felt impelled to do so after she and a friend saw crowds of people while driving. “[We] were like, ‘let’s just go,’” said Shields. “I just wanted to be a part of it.”

Once at the protest Shields was noticed and asked to speak to the crowd, through a megaphone.

“My great grandmother, she marched with Martin Luther King Jr. I have wanted to protest in Flint,” Shields said (per mlive). “I never thought America would unite together like this. We are all agreeing on black lives matter. Times are about to change.”

Shields told Sky Sports that attending, and speaking at, the protest — her first protest ever — was a profound experience.

“Me speaking and everything — I wasn’t even prepared for any of that. But I felt empowered, seeing ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’, and having people from all different backgrounds agree.

“I never thought the world would make it back to this place, where everybody is together. We matter. We don’t matter more, we don’t matter less - we just matter as much as the next person matters. To be a part of it; I felt powerful and I felt inspired.”

Shields also spoke to Sky Sports about the killing of George Floyd, which provided the catalyst the largest demonstrations that have taken place in recent days.

Floyd died in Minneapolis after then police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for at least eight minutes. Chauvin and three other police officers were fired after footage of the incident, which included Floyd telling Chauvin he couldn’t breathe and calling out for his mother, went viral.

Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. In response to protests over the killing, Minneapolis’ city council have revealed they intend to defund and disband the city’s police department.

“Enough is enough, that’s what I think,” said Shields when asked about Floyd’s death. “Being able to see George Floyd in the flesh, on camera, take his last breath, and then also call for his mother, I think reminded everybody that regardless of how they think of us as black people, we’ve still got mothers.

“We’re still a brother to somebody, we’re still a sister. I think that him being just so scared and having to call for his mom, I think that made other mothers of other races in other countries, look at it like ‘wait’. I think it made sense to them then that we’re all equal, we all come from a mother.”