First, I would like to send my condolences to all the families affected by racism or police brutality. It saddens me to see the amount of injustice and inequality happening around the world still in 2020. Racism has been happening for a long time. I hope and pray that justice will be served in the most recent tragedies with George Floyd and the other recent victims.
I am a well raised, small town guy. I’ve never been to jail, I’ve only been pulled over less than a handful of times for speeding, and I don’t have a criminal record. In 2011 after my rookie year in the NFL, I went back to my university, Texas Tech, close to my hometown, to finish my last two classes to graduate that spring. While there, my family and I had become victims of being racially profiled. My dad and I were in the process of getting our license to carry a concealed weapon, which is legal in Texas. My parents and I were outside my apartment building when we were discussing the the matter. We were around fifteen minutes into conversation when two police officers came speeding up and immediately pointed their guns at us. Someone must have heard our conversation we were having and called 911. It was terrifying, surreal, and an experience I’ll never forget. Moving to Canada I expected this racism to be better, but it wasn’t long before it began happening here as well. It’s never been to the extent of the Texas incident, but it certainly continues to happen.
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I speak on behalf of the black communities when I say that many different types of racism are experienced on a day-to-day basis. We are feeling frustration and anger, as we have been fighting against an oppressed system only to have been ignored for so many years. The recent events were the tipping point, causing millions of all colors to come together in a movement for justice and equality. The black community has been shouting out for centuries and have not been heard. This is a fight that is and needs to continue to involve all races. It’s been truly amazing to see all colors come together for change.
With all of the different emotions overcoming everyone, it is important that we use our emotions to fuel the movement beyond a few months in order to sustain it for the longevity.
First we need to continue to bring awareness. We can do this by amplifying black voices on social media, continuing peaceful protests, and by using as many platforms to spread as much awareness and education as possible. Challenge those around you who are remaining silent and become comfortable with having uncomfortable discussions. Silence is damaging. We must continue to inspire these people.
Secondly, we need to educate. We must start in our homes by educating ourselves, our kids, and our elders with as many resources as possible. We must learn about black history, systemic injustice, our rights as Americans/Canadians, and we must encourage all races to unlearn the stereotypes associated with each and every color and accept support from everyone. Equality can only come if we unite as one.
Third, we must continue to take action. You can do this by way of petitions, donating to BLM organizations, supporting black businesses, having mentorships/leaderships, and taking advantage of our right to vote at all levels…VOTE!
We ALL have different roles and capacities in fighting against racism and we are all going to be in different stages of the movement along the way. We have to do our best to encourage everyone despite what stage they are in. It is our job to educate and inspire them to keep moving forward and create change.
Although this year has been filled with many challenges, 2020 means “perfect visions” and it is an opportunity for us to look at things with a sharper focus to improve ourselves and our world. Let’s take this opportunity to unite and be the change.