Serena Williams took to Facebook to express her sentiments on the racial tensions between Blacks and police in a heartfelt post last week.
In the post, the tennis star told a story of her riding in the car with her 18-year-old nephew. She recalled her feelings when she saw a police car on the side of the road.
“I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend,” she wrote, referring to the July shooting death of Philando Castile. “I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He’s so innocent. So were all ‘the others.'”
Castile was shot and killed this past summer after being pulled over in Minnesota. His girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, recorded and livestreamed the incident. She states in the video that a police officer pulled over Castile for a broken taillight and he was shot four times. Reynolds also says that Castile disclosed to the officer he was carrying a firearm, with a permit. But as Castile was reaching for his wallet to get his identification the cop began shooting.
“Why did I have to think about this in 2016 Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives” Williams questioned. “But I realized we must stride on — for it’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.”
Williams is the latest among numerous Black athletes to speak publicly on the issue, joining the ranks of the NFL and NBA players who have recently made their voices heard.
“I had to take a look at me,” Williams said. “What about my nephews What if I have a son and what about my daughters As Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal.’ I won’t be silent.”
Like Williams, other athletes have used their celebrity status to advocate for change. NBA star LeBron James also spoke out recently week saying he fears for his children’s lives. “I look at my son being four years removed from driving his own car and being able to leave the house on his own and it’s a scary thought right now to think if my son gets pulled over,” he said.
James recently endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president. In an op-ed published on October 2 he said he has chosen Clinton “because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama. I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.”
According to James:
“Finally, we must address the violence, of every kind, the African-American community is experiencing in our streets and seeing on our TVs. I believe rebuilding our communities by focusing on at-risk children is a significant part of the solution. However, I am not a politician, I don’t know everything it will take finally to end the violence. But I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need.”
James, along with fellow professional basketball players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, used the ESPY awards ceremony over the summer in Los Angeles as a platform for social justice.
“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence,” James said. “But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves ‘What are we doing to create change'”
Also over the summer, Charlotte Hornets owner and former NBA superstar Michael Jordan joined the ranks and called for an end to the racial tension and violence.
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers,” he wrote in a statement released by The Undefeated.