Norman native and NBA All-Star Trae Young attended a protest rally in Norman on Monday and said America is “a messed up place right now” but added, “this is the first step” toward repairing a growing racial divide.
Young, who played for Lon Kruger at Oklahoma as a true freshman in 2017-18 and this year made the NBA All-Star Game in just his second professional season with the Atlanta Hawks, listened to other speakers at Andrews Park before getting up and talking for two minutes. He also spoke briefly with local media.
“I’m not used to doing this,” Young told the crowd. “I’m not very open about what I see or the things that go on in this world very often.
“But for me, even though I’m 21 years old, I feel it was necessary. This is bigger than me. I feel like this is a big step in the right direction.”
Young said having grown up in Norman, he tries to represent the city “as best I can” wherever he goes. He more than lived up to that standard on Monday.
“I know this country is in a messed up place right now,” he said. “And for me, I just think it’s important that we all stick together and we stand up for what’s right.
“It’s not gonna take just me. It’s not gonna take just you. It’s gonna take all of us coming together and doing this as a collective unit. And I feel like justice will be served and changes will be made if we all come together. This is us doing it. This is the first step.”
Young, 21 said he prays every day that “justice will be served” for George Floyd and “hundreds and hundreds of other people” victimized by police brutality and racial inequities.
He told media afterward that Monday’s rally in his hometown was “really good. Very powerful. For me being from here, growing up here, I think it’s important from to come out here and show my face, show my support. Because this is a serious, serious matter. For me, I’m not taking that lightly, and I know people here that showed up today are not either. So I just wanted to come out here and be a leader.
“I only speak up on certain occasions. I usually stay quiet. But at the same time, I’m 21 years old. I’m young still. I don’t necessarily know all the answers. But this is an instance where I feel like, I mean, it’s important to speak up. If I could give advice to anybody, I think the importance of speaking how you feel, speaking your emotions, especially in this time, it’s not bad.”
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