Pitcher Clayton Kershaw appeared alongside several of his L.A. Dodgers teammates in an outreach video to raise awareness for racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, The Athletic reported. The video was made following Kershaw’s Zoom call with several African American community leaders across the Los Angeles area.
“For centuries, the Black community has lived in a different America,” Kershaw said at the beginning of the video.
“We must unapologetically say that Black Lives Matter,” he concluded.
At the end of the video, 13 organizations were listed as beneficiaries for the Dodger’s charitable efforts, which included the sale of Dodger-branded “In This Together” t-shirts. Some of these organizations included Arts for Incarcerated Youth Project, Children’s Defense Fund, and the Social Justice Learning Institute, among others.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the police brutality protests that swept the nation, Kershaw admitted he at first did not recognize the issues when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016. The 32-year-old pitcher was raised in the suburbs of Dallas, where most of his peers were white, but said recent conversations with some of his teammates have had an impact on him.
Kershaw told The Athletic that his outlook on race issues in the U.S. changed after watching the footage of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers as well as learning of Breonna Taylor’s shooting death inside of her home by Louisville Police Officers. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a petition to bring Taylor’s killers to justice has reached over 10 million signatures.
“I just never really had seen something like that. And understanding, like, this happens a lot. And this is happening. Just based on the color of somebody’s skin, you might be afforded different privileges or not afforded privileges, just based on how you look.”
Now he is using his platform to raise money and awareness. Working closely with Nichol Whiteman, Executive Director of the Dodgers Foundation, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, are looking into ways to mobilize their own charity, Kershaw’s Challenge, into action.
“If there was one player who I thought was going to eventually step up and be a leader amongst the White players, I definitely thought it was going to be him,” Whiteman, a daughter of Jamaican immigrants, said.
Kershaw is scheduled to make his ninth career Opening Day start when his Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants to begin the 60-game season on Thursday.