Michael Jordan ‘can no longer stay silent’, backing up words with action

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Unlike his dominant on-court persona, Michael Jordan has apparently been an unassuming role-player over the years compared to other athletes who have utilized their platform for social change. Despite the many Blacks he has placed in leadership roles within his business ventures, and even despite quiet donations such as the $500K he recently gave to Charlotte, N.C., literacy programs along with plans to build and stock 18 new libraries, the general zeitgeist has been that Jordan has no desire to lend his voice to uplift the Black community. That perception will likely be wiped away today, as Jordan has donated $2M to help eradicate distrust between Blacks and the police. Jordan announced the donation as part of the following statement:

“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. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.
I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.
Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.
We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”
Jordan’s words and actions are well-timed, as many athletes have been answering Carmelo Anthony’s call for Black athletes to step up and take charge to make a difference in their communities.

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