This is why they kneel


There’s been another shooting of a black man by white police and it’s as hideous and outrageous as all the others

For many there are no words to justify what happened to Jacob Blake, Jr. Being shot 7 times in the back by one of three police officers on the scene is simply inexplicable but just like being shot while fleeing, as in the case of Rashard Brooks in Atlanta earlier this summer the faucet of death that flows over black male bodies seems to have been turned on full blast and too many Americans are clueless about the reason for black outrage and frustration.

A New York Mets baseball player, Dominic Smith seems to have embodied that frustration while talking to media the day of a scheduled baseball game that was cancelled by his team. Barely able to keep it together he talks about what has motivated him after seeing another man who looks like him victimized by police.

I struggled to find the beauty in his response. I applaud him for both giving in to and keeping his emotions in check. At the same time I am raging that a man has been forced to yield to those emotions in the face of hostility to his existence. People should not take Smith’s reaction as a kind of weakness because it’s not. It’s a fatigue that comes from realizing this threat will follow him and others like him around all their lives. No matter how good they are some white police officer will always question in ways that may turn out to be fatal, why he is at that place at that time.

However I am overjoyed that others have not given in to their fatigue just yet and have found other ways to express their anger and strive for substantive solutions. Players from the NBA have turned their frustration into positive political action in extraordinary ways.

The (NBA) has committed to create a social justice coalition, work with elections officials to convert NBA arenas into polling places for the 2020 election and create advertising spots to promote “greater civic engagement in national and local elections.”

The league has committed to create a social justice coalition, work with elections officials to convert NBA arenas into polling places for the 2020 election and create advertising spots to promote “greater civic engagement in national and local elections.”

“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” (a) statement said.

Using arenas as polling places will provide a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID-19, according to the statement. The plan, which applies to arenas that the franchise owns and controls, also includes using some facilities for voter registration and ballot receiving boards if the deadline to establish a polling place has passed.

Three teams already offered their spaces as polling places in July as election officials across the country scramble to find rooms large enough to allow for adequate social distancing. The Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and the Bucks have committed their arenas to be voting sites.

With just over two months before the elections athletes, like LeBron James, who was once told to shut up and dribble, have managed to come up with solutions that will enhance political participation in far better ways than Mr. Trump could ever imagine.

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