After the unjust death of George Floyd in police custody, massive crowds took to the streets to protest police brutality and lack of accountability. Police brutality, particularly against the black community, has been an issue in America for a long time. In the tennis world one of the WTA’s youngest members became the loudest voice for change. Rising American star Coco Gauff gave an inspirational speech at a protest in Delray Beach, Florida.
“I just spoke with my grandma and I think it’s sad I’m here protesting the same thing she did 50+ years ago,” the 16 year old began her speech to the crowd in front of Delray Beach City Hall. “So I’m here to tell you guys this. We must first love each other no matter what, we must have the tough conversations, having spent all week having tough conversations trying to educate my non black friends on how they can help the movement. Second, we need to take action. Yes we are all out here protesting and I’m not of age to vote but it’s in your hands to vote for my future, for my brothers future, and for your future so that’s one way to make change. Third, you need to use your voice. No matter how big or how small your platform is, you need to use your voice. I saw a Dr. King quote that said silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people. You need to not be silent, because if you are choosing silence you are choosing the side of the oppressor. I heard many things this past week and one of the things is it’s not my problem. Well let me tell you this, if you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends, this is your fight too. It is not your job, it’s not your duty to say Lil Uzi Vert is my favorite artist but I don’t care what happened to George Floyd. How does that make sense? So I demand change now, and it’s sad it takes another black man’s life to be lost for all of this to happen but we have to understand that this has been going on for years. This is not just about George Floyd, this is about Trayvon Martin, this is about Eric Garner, this is about Breonna Taylor. This is stuff that’s been happening, I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed so why am I here at 16 still demanding change and it breaks my heart. I’m fighting for the future of my brothers, I’m fighting for the future of my future kids, I’m fighting for the future of my future grandchildren so we need to change now and I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information, spread awareness and fight racism, black lives have always mattered.”
Coco Gauff, has joined other tennis stars in their mission of justice and change. Fellow American Frances Tiafoe and Ayan Broomfield made a video where they put their rackets down and their hands up. The powerful video included Coco and her father, Serena Williams, Gael Monfils, Heather Watson, Naomi Osaka and many more. Osaka was also one of the tennis pros we saw protesting in the streets across the States.
We have been touched to see tennis come together in this difficult time and demand the change that’s needed going forward. If you would like to learn more on how you can contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, please visit http://blacklivesmatter.carrd.co