Emotions are running high with the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The country is noticeably divided, hurt, and triggered on what can be done to correct the wrongs of institutionalized racism.
On May 25th, Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was filmed with his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes. Floyd can be heard crying for help and stating that he couldn't breathe. Soon his body becomes visibly limp and unresponsive. He was murdered over an alleged forged check.
Chauvin, along with officers, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane, were fired soon after the video went viral. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder - he was the only officer of the four to be arrested.
Roy Williams and Mack Brown each released a statement regarding the outrage. Their messages align with the young black men they mentor, care for, and protect as student-athletes under their care.
“The people of Minneapolis and others around the country who are peacefully protesting injustice have my complete support. What happened to George Floyd and has happened elsewhere is a tragedy and is something that we can no longer tolerate as a country. I feel for the families that have lost their loved ones. It is unacceptable what is happening to our own citizens and needs to change immediately. But we have to come together. Deal with the problems and heal as one people."
"The recent tragedies in Georgia and Minnesota are unacceptable. The violence has to stop. We talk about communication, trust and respect. There’s not much of that right now and it continues to tear us apart. Listen, learn, empathize. Let’s come together and change for the better."
But what stood out most were the student-athletes and incoming recruits who positioned themselves to be an ally for justice. Famed sophomore QB, Sam Howell and incoming four-star WR JJ Jones are just a couple who showed their support.
"The recent events that have taken place in our country are truly sickening. As a white man, I will never know what it’s like to be Black in this country. However, I will stand with my brothers and I will stand with my sisters. The Racial Injustice is clear and I am praying that God changes the hearts of those who are still trying to justify what is happening. I pray that no matter what color your skin is, you see the wrong that is happening in our country and that you are willing to use your voice and do what you can to stand up for the Black community.
A lot of the people I call my best-friends are Black and they are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Some of the most influential people in my life have had black skin and I would not be where I am without them. We cannot let harmful stereotypes tear us apart any longer. I pray that our nation can see beyond color and see people for who they really are. God bless you all and God bless this country."
"We Will No Longer Be Silenced! And to all of the people who follow me and don’t like this kind of content that I post, feel free to unfollow me (doesn’t hurt my feelings a single bit) because i’m just getting started! #JusticeForGeorgeFlyod #BlackLivesMatters"
For those of you who find it difficult to understand or feel like "things" have gotten out of hand, I ask that you speak with someone of color and acknowledge your ignorance to gain better understanding. Being judged before you even have the chance to open your mouth is heartbreaking and exhausting. As an African-American women, I'm often told to be mindful of the room, to work harder, and to know my skin speaks before I do - I learned this as a child.
I still believe in the change and equality my ancestors hope for. I still believe in the dream of one day never being judged for the color of my skin. I still believe in people. It all starts with a conversation.
Please, if you have a question and want to know how to be an ally, ask. There's never any fear of doing the right thing. Let's stand together and fight evil as one.
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