As reported at The Guardian, the Women’s World #1 tennis player, Serena Williams made a post on Facebook, expressed her fears for her nephew as he drove a car in which she was a passenger. They passed a police car on the side of the road and recalled the case of the black man, Philando Castile, whom died from gunshot wounds received from a police officer while he reached for his wallet in his car. Mr Castile had voluntarily complied information that he was carrying a licensed firearm. His girlfriend and a child were also in the vehicle and were unharmed. His girlfriend posted the fatal confrontation live on Facebook.
This case joins the long list of deadly encounters that men and women of colour have faced over the past few years and beyond. With the technology of social media and wide spread use of smartphones, more incidents have been recorded and shared with the general public.
Ms Williams stated on Facebook:
Today I asked my 18 year old nephew (to be clear he’s black) to drive me to my meetings so I can work on my phone #safteyfirst. In the distance I saw cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds. I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He’s so innocent. So were all “the others”
I am a total believer that not “everyone” is bad It is just the ones that are ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive that is affecting millions and millions of lives.
Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on- for it’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.
I than wondered than have I spoken up? I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters?
As Dr. Martin Luther King said ” There comes a time when silence is betrayal”.
Ms Williams joins athletes such as the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick whom are using their platform to bring attention to the persistent racism and police brutality in the United States. Ms Williams & her family members received boos and racial slurs at Indiana Wells in 2001 and has since returned to compete there after a 13 year boycott. Members of the Miami Dolphins; Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas & Arian Foster also followed suit with Mr Kaepernick’s protest of sitting out or kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. The NBA coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich has stated that he respects Mr Kaepernick’s courage while Cleveland Cavaliers’, LeBron James has stated that he will not join the protest but is quoted to say in concern of his children’s future:
For me, my personal feelings is that I got a 12-year-old son, a nine-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter and I look at my son being four years removed from driving his own car and being able to leave the house on his own and it’s a scary thought right now to think if my son gets pulled over,” James said. “You tell your kids if you just apply [the lessons you teach them] and if you just listen to the police that they will be respectful and it will work itself out. And you see these videos that continue to come out and it’s a scary-ass situation that if my son calls me and says that he’s been pulled over that I’m not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home. And my son just started the sixth grade.
NFL Kansas City Chiefs‘ cornerback Marcus Peters, raised a black gloved fist during an opening game, stating afterwards:
I come from a majority black community from Oakland, California … so the struggle, I seen it. I still have some family in the struggle. All I’m saying is we want to educate those, the youth that’s coming up.
Serena Williams with coach & partner Patrick Mouratoglou.
Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas & Kenny Stiles kneel during the National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner).
Mr Jenkins is quoted to have said:
I chose to get involved to see if I could create change, raise awareness. And I want to make it clear that there is no disrespect to the military or to police officers —I’m not about that. I love everyone,” said Miami’s Jelani Jenkins, one of the Dolphins to kneel. “I would like to keep moving forward in the right direction with everybody: equal rights, equal opportunity. From my position, it doesn’t seem that it’s happening. That’s why I took a stand.
LeBron James & wife Savannah Brinson.