Carolina Basketball: Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter.
This movement, or this simple sentence, should not be seen as a threat. In no way am I saying your life is devalued, I'm telling you, I matter too. Imagine having to say those words; luckily, most of you don't have to. What scares people the most is living in a time we all thought we would never see again. We're living in a world of transparency, where being silent isn't an option. We can't progress if one of us oppressed.
We are so scared to have a conversation as a nation; it is now being forced into news headlines. We need that. We can never get over fear if we don't find the root of the problem and try and fix it. As a country, we are more than color. This beautiful country houses so many amazing cultures and skin tones that should be celebrated.
We can never learn to progress as a nation until we can all understand that we are the same underneath all this melanin—word to Cam Newton. While hate can still rear its ugly head, people from different backgrounds come together to fight for a better world. The news and sometimes even social media can only cause us to view one side, but if you go in neighborhoods, you will see acts of kindness, and you will see people of all races protesting… the movement is happening. My generation is tired of being plagued by the silliness of skin tone, and with influential voices, we can make attempts to heal ourselves.
Saying Black Lives Matter is a call to justice, to act, and to change. No longer should anyone of color be afraid to exist in the skin they're in. No longer should fear be present when facing authority. No longer should my skin be a qualification to speak before I open my mouth. My life, those who look like me, aren't saying we are better than you, we're saying we want to matter just as much as you do. Equal. That's all we want.
Roy Williams, along with Michael Jordan, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Kennedy Meeks, and a host of others, released a visual statement calling for change and ending systemic racism police brutality against Black Lives.
In the video, former players are calling for:
- The elimination of police brutality (George Lynch)
- Stop the killing of unarmed Black citizens (Theo Pinson, James Worthy)
- Decriminalization of skin color (Danny Green, Sam Perkins, Jawad Williams)
- Voter registration (Green, Perkins)
- Vocal actions (Sean May, Luke Maye, Justin Jackson)
- Compassion (Jimmy Black)
- Racial reconciliation (Marvin Williams)
- Listening with your heart (Kennedy Meeks, Lennie Rosenbluth)
- Elimination of racism (Donald Williams)
- Justice for all. It's not a political issue. It's a human right. (Raymond Felton)
In 1966 our legendary head coach Dean Smith, my mentor, changed college basketball dramatically, particularly in the South by signing Charlie Scott, the first African-American player to a scholarship at the University of North Carolina. Many of our greatest Tar Heels, some of the greatest to play our game, have been black players." Roy Williams says, "But here we are, more than 50 years later and our country's still fighting systemic racism and police brutality against black men and women. The North Carolina basketball program, our family, our current and former players believe black lives matter. And it's critically important that we don't just believe it, we must stand together and loudly and clearly demand that we as a country and the world, embrace the fundamental human right that black lives matter."
The video finished with a statement from Michael Jordan,
"Systematic racism has to stop now. We must take the time to listen and educate our family, our friends, our children on social injustice and racial equality. Black lives matter more now than ever before. We have to get this right. So please take time to educate yourself and improve the lives of many people, many black people. Thank you."
It's not a political statement. It's a human right.
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