August 26 marked four years since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat for the national anthem of an NFL preseason game. Kaepernick received constant criticism and negative attention for sitting and kneeling during the national anthem. Still, he proceeded to protest with the intention of raising awareness about issues of racial inequality and police brutality. Fast forward to this week: in response to yet another shooting of an unarmed Black man by police, the WNBA and NBA players postponed scheduled games for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Leading up to the NBA and WNBA seasons, the players were already vocal about their desire to utilize their platforms to keep mainstream media focused on the push for social justice. However, with both leagues being confined to isolated campus “bubbles” for COVID19 safety, when the news about the shooting of Jacob Blake became public, many players felt helpless and challenged by the circumstances, unable to even hug their families and friends. On Wednesday, Celtics NBA player Jayson Tatum said that players are angry, frustrated and isolated, and they would “love to go back to our communities and stand with our people”.
On August 23, a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leaving Blake partially paralyzed. Since then, protesters have been marching in the streets of Kenosha and around the country, continuing the call for an end to police brutality and systemic racism, while ensuring accessibility to vote.
Today marks the 57th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed a crowd of nearly 250,000 with his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. 57 years later, the demand for racial justice continues.
The momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement is stronger than ever, as more people from all walks of life are starting to recognize this as the human rights issue that it truly is. 2020 has seen solidarity for the movement among professional athletes across all sports, doctors and nurses in between hospital shifts, major brands, small businesses, teachers, and students, to name a few. THIS IS RELEVANT TO EVERYONE. SAE stands with the protesters, families, and communities that are committed to addressing racial inequality and police brutality.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.