In emotional protest speech, Kiwi UFC star Israel Adesanya describes his own experiences with racism

Israel Adesanya gave a rousing speech yesterday in the Auckland CBD as Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at Aotea Square to march to the US consulate. 

The protests come as an African-American man, George Floyd, was killed by police during an arrest in Minnesota. 

In an emotionally charged address, Adesanya described his anger and disgust at the recent incident involving the death of Floyd and other past instances of racial profiling and police brutality.

Twitter user Isoa Kavakimotu posted the video, which has since been retweeted by Bleacher Report, receiving over 250,000 views.

The UFC star said, "I'm sick and tired of seeing these faces getting killed, because guess what? I see myself in them, and it's heartbreaking, man. I'm pissed off." 

The Kiwi UFC middleweight champion was born in Nigeria and emigrated to New Zealand with his family at the age of 10, and in his speech to the crowd he provided an insight into his own experiences with racism.

Adesanya asked, "How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your backs just so they don't think you're stealing?

"How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try and make the person who you can see is already scared of you, make them feel comfortable?" 

Adesanya then went on to describe instances that have occurred since he moved to an up-market Auckland suburb.

"I just moved to a spot in Remuera. I'm at the top floor. I have to go in an elevator. Three times already I've had to have racist, scared, white people jump when they see me, and I smile at them," Adesanya said.

"So now I have got to stay to the side and let them walk through just so they don't get scared when they see me. Why? Because I'm black."

Adesanya acknowledged the people in the crowd who were of different ethnic backgrounds, emphasising the need for everybody to speak out. 

"Shout out to all the white people, all the people of different races being here because we need you. We need you to speak up. We need you to say something."