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Orlando City and Pride Players Speak Out

What Orlando’s players are saying in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.

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The world is hurting from the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. There are many franchises and companies around the world shouting their support for the Black Lives Matter movement while others stay silent, share blanket statements that address absolutely nothing, or continue with business as usual.

Not Orlando City and the Orlando Pride though. The club and players have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement while the people of Orlando march on the same streets we walk every game day, demanding justice, demanding to be heard, and demanding change.

Orlando City Chief Administrative Officer Caesar Lopez shared a letter to the community earlier this week in support.

“Like so many of you, I’m outraged by the loss of life and the persistent unequal treatment of those within our community, especially our black community. We are all too familiar with the senseless loss of life in America. With the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless others, it has become clear that we have to work harder than ever to bring about positive change in our community. Our people, our players, our fans and our community are in pain and we are hurting with them. This isn’t just a black community issue; this is a human issue.

We saw City and Pride players share their hurt, thoughts, and experiences as allies or victims of racist acts and comments. But most importantly, the players are sharing their pride.

Sydney Leroux didn’t stop there; she took to Twitter to share the vulgar and offensive messages she has received and to tell a story of hating the skin she was in.

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I live my life with love and compassion for everyone and all beings. To know that there are people out there who do not do the same is really hard for me to understand. It’s devastating. Especially when these people are in positions of power and are meant to protect us. Being both Black and White I have a unique position of having the power of privilege and not having it. Sometimes it’s hard to navigate. Like most of you, I’ve really been struggling trying to articulate my feelings and emotions. I’ve realized there is no right thing to say because what is happening isn’t right. So say anything. Say something. Speak out. Use your voice and let it be heard. Don’t let these protests and social posts be the end of our outrage. Think about real change. What can we do as individuals in our own homes and in our communities. How can we show support, empathy and compassion for those who do not look like us. Actions must prevail here. Vote people into power who will make sure your voice is heard. Get out into communities and do real social work. Build trust and relationships. Have hard conversations with your friends and family. If you have it, use your privilege to fight for equality. Do not be complicit in turning a blind eye. Examine yourself so we can be better for others. We must channel our anger into finding real solutions. We must be better and we WILL be better together. #blacklivesmatter #justiceforgeorgefloyd

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Meanwhile, Ali Krieger took a step back to listen, learn, and make a promise to use her voice and platform to speak out against racism and encourage others to step up and fight against injustice too.

Major League Soccer shared resources to help others listen, learn, and support.

“The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.

We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration.

We hear you.

We see you.

We support you.

We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our League, our Clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.”

Silence has been easy and comfortable, but now silence isn’t going unnoticed. Like former OCB player Wilfred Williams shared in an Instagram story, “Now that the [black square] trend is over, are you going to support the movement and stand with me or you going to go back to being silent? I see you, and I’m watching you.”

As of Thursday, all 50 states and 18 countries had held protests. Children are hearing bits and pieces as well, so if you’re looking for resources on how to speak to young children on the matter, might I suggest a few?

Take the time to educate yourselves, your family, and your friends. Have tough conversations. Read to know, listen to learn, and strive to be heard.