Reflection on ESPN's Undefeated conversation
Just a few days back, ESPN’s Undefeated held a panelist discussion on athletes, guns, violence and law enforcement. The conversation was held at the Southside YMCA of Metro Chicago and hosted by ESPN’s Jemele Hill.
This hour long discussion fell right in place, as the racial tensions between law enforcement and the black communities were continuing to grow. This was more than a call for help, and far from a police brutality banter. No, these were prominent African Americans, recognizing the everyday illnesses within our own black communities, and coming up with ways to end the senseless violence against our own people.
You all don’t need me to reiterate and break down what has already been said, that’s why this is a video post. But what I am going to do, is simply reflect on some of the major points made by some of the panelists, and put it into perspective as to how it applies to the community around me.
If you’ve watched the video prior to reading this, then you’ll be able to recall the young activist and Chicago native who leads us into the discussion in a poetic fashion. His name is Malcolm London, and as he concludes his intro he states, “the only way to win, is together.” That right there alone, is the solution to so many problems in the world we live in today. Think about it, outside of your own personal issues, how much easier would it be to solve an issue within the community, workplace, or household, working as a team. Just like any sport, you can compile all the stars you want on that team, but not one star can get to where they want to go without the help of those around them.
You have a lot of black communities with a lot of influential members with various ways of helping, but no one seems to be on the same page. And I’m not saying you can’t have options, I’m saying it would be more beneficial for these higher up community figures to get together and configure one solid solution and once developed, stem from that. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but just as 9-year Major League Baseball veteran and ESPN MLB analyst Doung Glanville said, “You can speak, you can tweet, but you have to get out there. You can’t just act, you have to enact.”
I said it prior to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, Melo speaking out at the ESPY’s, and way before LeBron and company came out in support of the Freddie Gray “I Can’t Breathe” warm-up shirts, and I’ll say it again. Athletes need to utilize their platforms to address certain issues that affect the everyday community. I mean they’re always in the spotlight seems like, not even when they’re playing but in and out of various commercials. Chicago native and Milwaukee Bucks standout Jabari Parker said it best, “How do these people get to reconnect us to what we believe in?”
The answer is they don’t, until you acknowledge real life issues or do something positive in the neighborhoods or communities around you. And let me be clear, you don’t have to be big time to make a change around you. Yes a lot of good things start with money, but it could be as simple as taking a group of local kids here and there to do this and that, anything to get them involved, giving younger children the chance to embrace on positivity and not be left to be raised by the streets.
You don’t have to sell drugs for someone to tell you “aye man, there’s no love in these streets,” it’s right there on television for anyone to see. I’m sure there was a time way back when, when a parents child were to go out and maybe not be in the best environment or situation, they could depend on the police to serve as that extra eye. Not anymore. As a black individual or minority even, you have to stay alert and go about things as if there is a target on your back. Not all cops are bad and not all cops are serving to protect these streets and those that walk them either.
Glen Brooks, Area Coordinator from the Chicago P.D. started off by saying “everybody in the police department wasn’t born in the police department. We all have families and friends, and our goal at the end of the day is to make sure everyone in the neighborhood goes home safely and stays safe.” The part that really stuck out to me from Mr. Brooks was when he stated the issue of guns and violence isn’t as easy to stop as people may think. “Let’s just remember, the issue of violence and guns isn’t simply going to be solved by handcuffs, if we could arrest our way out of it, we would have done it, but the issue has become so pervasive that we know we need to be a part of that solution and are willing to work with and alongside these individuals.”
I’m sure by now you all are thinking to yourselves, what is it that I do to help out the community, or make a change around me. Well, I do this. I write to showcase what I learned while in school. I love to talk to the younger generation and tell them how I went 400 plus miles away to school and how it helped me grow. I can’t tell anyone how to get, off the streets, but I can give them the list of options for what awaits them once they, leave the streets. I can’t relate to the street life, but I can damn sure relate to what it means to have a solid educational foundation and background and how being able to use that same exact knowledge I obtained while in school, can progress you through the many stages of life. It’s going to take more than me, and it’s going to take more than you, but together, we could make an impact. Remember what London said, the only way to win, is together.