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  • Karen Edmond

The Revival And Rise Of Black Athlete Activism.

The other day while patronizing a local business, I noticed a beautiful picture of an African American all-star on the wall. I complimented the owner of the company for adorning her shop with the artwork. The shop owner immediately replied, "Yeah, it's a nice picture, but those guys aren't acting right." I couldn't help but ask the business-owner, "how are they acting?" In which she replied sternly "their not acting right and should play ball." She then wrapped up my package, and to my surprise, gave me a $3.00 discount for my purchase. Today NBA players plus retired NBA athletes such as journalist Etan Thomas are taking a strong stand against police brutality and racism. Despite public outcries from Black and White patrons of the game athletes are organizing and leading the protest against police brutality. In an article by Etan Thomas of the Irish Times titled "NBA has the money and power to force change for Black Americans,"  Thomas shares that when "Letetra Wildman, the sister of Jacob Blake, delivered a gripping message," of "I don't want your pity, I want change." Stirred the souls of already concerned basketball players to take their protests to the next level. Per Thomas's article Chris Webber a retired basketball player for the Sacramento Kings, shared a turning of the tides address that announced the boycott of "Wednesday's playoff games and leagues such as the WNBA, MLB, and MLS."   This is not the first time that the athletic community has raised their fist in defiance to the status quo. Historically Black boxers took public stands against racism by just being the ring. Per an article titled "The Exile of Jack Johnson." Written by Lyn Burnett of the Cross-Cultural Solidarity Historical Education Project. Burnett shares that, "in the 1880s and 1890s, White Southerners in the United States were working hard to re-establish the dominance they had lost over Black Americans after the Civil War." Burnett further shared how recently freedmen who had boxing skills began traveling outside of the United States to box because America blocked opportunities for them to practice their trade locally. Black boxers began to travel and realized that other countries faced liked oppression spearheaded by white supremacist ideology. Per Burnett, "When Black boxers fought White opponents overseas," in the 1880's, "they gained the respect of colonized people and became symbols of their shared struggle against White supremacy. By 1908 Jack Johnson came on the scene and demolished White supremacist hopes and dreams while smiling "as he fought," and conquered "the best White fighter in the world." Article further states that "the powerful symbol of Jack Johnson, had helped to pave the way for the more, assertive "Black culture of the 1920's." There are endless examples championed by Black athletes to make a difference on behalf of their long-term murdered fellow Afro- Americans.  Teacher, and activist Dr. John H. Rock 1856 historic speech titled, "We sink or swim with our people." Clearly defines the risks that are taken to right the wrongs created by racism. Let's all be thankful for these men of valor, both Black & White, to stand up for their fellow Americans. Saving lives matter. Games can always be played at another time once the killings have stopped. Thank you for reading this report. Big shout outs to Saint Thomas and King James for helping to lead the way! 

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