With the recent events in Minneapolis and what happened to George Floyd, I've been contemplating how I could use my platform to show support, use my voice, and be an example to navigate through this very sensitive time... especially as a white man speaking on social justice.
I grew up in Bonne Terre, MO. A small town that seems 99% white so I don't know shit about growing up black. I'm a very discredited human when speaking on these issues. I have, however, had the blessing to go from a small town in Missouri, to being in a locker room with guys from all over the country at the University of Nebraska, then to NFL locker rooms where I've had the opportunity to learn from my black teammates about a world that I'll never fully be able to comprehend. I'm lucky as hell to have had the experiences, friendships, and brotherhoods that I've created over the years, and I know that that my black friends are feeling every negative emotion possible right now.
I hesitate to write this blog because I, like everyone else, can get uncomfortable in these conversations. That's okay, though. You MUST fucking get uncomfortable to start growing. We have to truly remove ourselves from our own bubble of life to understand what someone else might be going through or the realities they face every single day. We all have so many opinions because we've all lived a different life than the next person. If you think about it, we go from learning within our family to learning within a community, to our town/city, to our college bubbles, to our careers, and so on. Some of those bubbles never diversify. Some are always changing. If you take alllllllllll of these different views, opinions, experiences, and put them on a social platform the potential of chaos is always high.
As someone who usually plays the middle and tries not to get too wrapped up in politics, religion, etc., I find myself feeling a responsibility to speak up. I'm not even sure how to speak up but if there's anything I've learned, it's that you don't always need to know exactly what to say in order to be a voice for change. Below are some posts from athletes that help me articulate my thoughts. I admire these guys and how they've chosen to speak up, so I will highlight and use them.
I love what young Joe Burrow says in his tweet: "Open your ears, listen..." Now is not the time to be arguing in the comments section about police training, what might've happened before, the looting, etc. The black community is trying to be heard as they have been forever. This incident is as clear as day and ultimately, George Floyd should be alive. Period. That video could NOT have painted a simpler picture because the entire situation was under control.
I resonate with what Carson and Dan posted - obviously because I'm white and I can't even pretend to know what the black community endures. These guys are great examples that you don't need to have the perfect words for a situation. People just need to know you're listening and using your voice in WHATEVER capacity you have.
Finally, here's a good excerpt below from my brother Quincy Enunwa on advice for what white people can do. "I think the best way to help is to learn how to be an anti-racist. No longer is it enough to say 'I am not racist'… I think it's only important for us to continue to learn."
Now is not the time to argue. Now is the time to listen, be slow to speak, and seek to understand. Bring someone along with you and continue to be an example.
Here is some information on how you can donate to the recent events:
- Reclaim The Block: https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home
- Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/
- Black Visions Collective: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
- George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd
Love you all,