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.
A liberdade nunca é voluntariamente oferecida pelo opressor. Deve ser exigida pelo oprimido. ✊— Jr Urso (@JrUrso) June 2, 2020
Freedom is never offered voluntarily by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed. ✊ #blacklivesmatter #vidasnegrasimportam pic.twitter.com/ybrAAlpTNa
View this post on Instagram
I’ve been having a really hard time putting my feelings into words these past couple days. I have a white mother and a black father and even though I am 50% white, society has always seen me as black. I was always “the black girl” growing up in school or on the field. When I stand up for our people, see me as both. I don’t care how you identify. We all need to participate. We need to talk about this. We need to have uncomfortable conversations with our friends and our families and we need to get on the same page. That this is not okay. This has never been okay and it will never be okay but we will continue this fight until we are. A couple months ago I posted my son in a Black History Month sweater and someone commented that he isn’t even “black”. His genes say otherwise, the color of his skin says otherwise. Society says otherwise. You do not need to have black friends, black children, or a black spouse to be outraged. If you care about human life, you should be mad. Let me tell you, the black part of me is mad… but the white part of me is furious. And neither part of me will ever stop fighting for justice.
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.
View this post on Instagram
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
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?
- Here is a 24-minute conversation with author Jason Reynolds, (Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Look Both Ways, A Long Way Down, Marcus, etc.), where children as young as eight call in to ask questions to help find answers.
- A White Families’ Guide for Talking About Racism.
- The POC Families’ Guide for Talking About Racism.
- And as a librarian I’ll leave you with a few titles to share with kids.
View this post on Instagram
Are kids too young to talk about race? No. I don’t always have the right words or know where to begin, so I usually turn to books and encourage you to do the same. Here are a few I have in our school library and a few new ones I’ve ordered to read so I’ll be better equipped to talk about race no matter the age; there’s a book for everyone from pre-k to high school. Don’t let your fear of having the right words get in the way. Books can start conversations and dialogue about race, so that your silence doesn’t reinforce racism. Swipe through to see the impact race has on young people brought to you by the people at @pretty_good_design. I also think it’s important to stock our school and classroom library shelves with books featuring BIPOC - particularly as protagonists and heroes; they can act as both the mirrors and windows our students need now more than ever. I’ve included a link in my profile to a pdf of some suggested titles, or you can screen shot the pictures in my stories. #race #racism #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #library #librariesofinstagram #librarian #librariansofinstagram #bookstagram
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.