Basketball legend Michael Jordan, is using his unique platform to help eradicate injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Back in July 2016, Jordan spoke with The Undefeated about the shootings of African Americans and the targeting of violence against police officers.
A proud American and a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, Jordan expressed his concern over the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement as well as his anger over the cowardly, hateful targeting, and killing of police officers.
“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 far 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.”
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Jordan concluded with:
“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.”
Now, in the wake of protests spanning from the east coast to the west coast, the Jordan Brand announced in June its intention to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to help promote racial equality and social justice.
During an exclusive interview with the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell, Jordan spoke about how he feels amid the international protests against racial injustice, police brutality, and systematic racism.
Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement. We are you. We are a family. We are a community. pic.twitter.com/cGH8bJl1GQ
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) June 5, 2020
The pledge, by Jordan and the Nike division named for him, will go to support organizations working for racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education. Jordan said that element, access to education is crucial to both upward mobility and changing cultural norms regarding race and poverty.
During the interview, Jordan was asked why he made the donation. Jordan told Rick Bonnell:
“We have been beaten down (as African-Americans) for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race. “
Jordan issued a challenge to people to stop racist behavior:
“Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities. Sure, it’s about bargaining for better police, but it’s more. We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles.”
Jordan’s spokeswoman said that Jordan’s commitment to diversity has been long established, but he’s always been very private and personal about many of those things. Of the decision to speak out and contribute his voice and money now she said:
“Michael was tired of just talking. He wanted to do something about the issue. This was very important to him.”
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