I doubt there’s anyone here reading this who doesn’t know what’s been going on in the United States over the course of the past week. The murder of an unarmed black man by four police officers in Minnesota sparked days of protest, most of it peaceful, some of it violent, even criminal, and those boundaries have been violated both by protesters and those assigned to protect and contain those protests.
Amid the protests, riots and looting have received a lot of attention in the headlines. These activities have been visited upon cities all across the country, and a variety of groups, both unaffiliated and carefully orchestrated, on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum, have engaged in this behavior.
Within the melee and chaos, while many major international chains have been targeted, there have also been a number of private, small business owners who have seen their property damaged or destroyed, and many want to reach out and know what they can do.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Vince Williams is one of them. He sent a message out to media members to disburse his request, as shared by Aditi Kinkhabwala. It reads simply: “send me the GoFundMe of businesses that have been destroyed by the riots. I’ve done independent searches, but hopefully this helps me to be more thorough”.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 3, 2020
That’s it. That’s the message. Let me know who I can help and where I can go to help them. Protesting serves a vital function in any healthy democracy, even if it doesn’t always manifest itself in healthy and productive ways. There is collateral damage that is inevitable in the push for change.
But there are also those, like Williams, who will be there to clean up. After every night of chaos and violence, which receives the bulk of the attention, it’s unfortunate that you have to attend to social media if you want to find the videos of citizens of their communities, of all colors, out there on the streets cleaning things up. These stories are not sensational, so they don’t command the same real estate in the news landscape.
There have been protests in every state in the country, and in countries all around the world, calling for redress against the discrimination of black and brown people. While many sports fans would prefer their athletes to ‘stick to football’, many have used their platform during this time, as has just about every team.
Using that voice also includes the actions that they perform in their communities on a routine basis, however, most of it going unpublicized. Almost every professional athlete on this level uses his or her financial resources to give back to their communities, and if they just stuck to sports, they wouldn’t have these passions to better things in the world.