Serena Williams has vowed to raise her voice against the recently highlighted police brutality against African-Americans, writing in a Facebook post that “I won’t be silent” as doing so would amount to betrayal. Williams also narrated a personal incident where she went through a moment of panic on seeing a cop on the street while her 18-year-old nephew was driving her.
The powerful message written by Serena Williams to her five million fans on Facebook seeks to emphasize the need to end the racial killings faced by African-Americans, an issue that has gained international attention thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the post, Williams shared that she feared for the life of her nephew simply because he was a person with black skin even in an America of 2016.
“Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? 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.”
Serena Williams Narrates How She Lives In Fear
Serena Williams was being driven by her nephew to her meetings, as she had work to do on her phone. That’s when she noticed a cop and horrible images flooded her mind.
“In the distance I saw cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. Then I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds. I even regretted not driving myself.”
According to The Guardian, the woman Williams wrote about is the girlfriend of Philando Castile, the man who got pulled over and then shot to death by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend, was in the car with her four-year-old daughter when the incident took place. She live-streamed the video on Facebook, showing the armed officer and a wounded Castile, who died 20 minutes after being shot several times.
The Serena Williams post draws attention to not just this particular incident but also a number of others, which were also behind several protests organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the past few years, the deaths of Travyon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, among others, have led to huge public demonstrations against police brutality.
These were the incidents that were playing in the mind of Serena Williams, one of the best athletes of all time, when she decided, “I won’t be silent.”
“I than wondered than have I spoken up? [sic] I had to take a look at me. 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.”
Serena Williams’ History Of Acting On Social Issues
This is not the first time that the tennis star has spoken out about social issues. She has made clear statements in the past against discrimination.
According to Fox Sports, she boycotted the Indian Wells tournament for fourteen years after a racial incident upset her there. She also tweeted about the Orlando mass shooting. Williams is an ambassador for UNICEF and regularly helps gun violence victims and those who need legal representation through her foundation.
The incident narrated by the tennis legend in her post reminds readers that police brutality against African-Americans and the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement have serious impact even on the daily lives of the richest of people. So when Serena Williams decided “I won’t be silent,” it was the right thing to do.
[Featured Image by Luca Bruno /AP Images]