Tamir Rice, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, the list just keeps going. The names of unarmed, innocent and peaceful Black men and women who have been murdered at the hands of white police officers is excruciatingly painful to think about. Black people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The Black Lives Matter movement is more than just rioting or causing uproar in the streets, it is an entire movement on how African-Americans are tired of going through racial suppression for over 400 years. Slavery, the Civil War, Poll Taxes, White Primaries, the Civil Rights Movement, the War on Drugs to today’s time, it is all disgusting to even think about. The first thing that comes to a counterprotestor’s mind is that, “all lives matter”. How exactly can all lives matter when Black lives clearly do not matter? The answer is simple, it cannot.
When major events go down, individuals tend to look at prominent figures, such as athletes to step out and speak forward when it comes to issues. Athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and Steph Curry continue to or have spoken out numerous times on issues with the black community. While these individuals are or were excellent at their respective sports, they excel off the playing surfaces as well. Being able to utilize a platform to speak out makes individuals look up to a prominent figure even more.
The whole issue with the death of George Floyd has caused major uproar in the United States of America. To see the way that police officer murdered that young black brother literally had me crying like I had lost my own brother. As I had scrolled through Twitter and Instagram, the amount of athletes that are speaking out or attending protests is simply amazing. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Forward/Center Karl-Anthony Towns, who just lost his mother due to COVID-19, was front and center in the city that constantly cheers for him. LeBron James, the NBA’s biggest icon continues to speak out and share articles on social media on how black folks are sick and tired of being the subject matter of police brutality. First Take Analyst and prominent ESPN announcer, Stephen A. Smith has been on social media and his show referring to how silence is violence. He is absolutely right.
These protests are literally examples of how powerful the First Amendment is. By having protests and having superstar athletes speak out on these issues, it will continue to raise awareness nationwide. This is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee, for the racial injustices that perpetuate the United States as a whole. The world’s most powerful country has the most racial problems. This country is too developed and too powerful for black men and women to constantly scream #ICantBreathe. This has to come to a stop. Black people built this country. Black people bring revenue to this country in terms of music, sports, culture, cuisine and overall quality of life. We are not just individuals to hate because we are a little darker than other folks. The protests, demonstrations, marches and words from our black athletes will continue until these racial injustices stop. Until the day that comes, #ICantBreathe.