For a life time, we have lived knowing the possiblities of what can happen to us black people everytime we step outside of our homes. The trauma of re-living experiences imposed on us by our fellow humans on the daily bases.
Speaking from personal experiences, I have never had a professional job in my life where I haven’t experienced racism and felt safe. With everything that is happening now, I am having to relive the traumas of the Amy Coopers of my journey. It was such a terrible feeling but guess what, there are people sitting on social media arguing that, “but it is not that bad in the UK?”
And it’s heartbreaking, it those same people that are the Amy Coopers of this world, because their privilege is so amazing that, they do not want to accept that, racism in the UK is so institutionalised that it is the norm without them knowing it is the norm because they believe we should be grateful. As a black woman who has experience this and been victimised for speaking up everytime, it is so draining.
But all hope is not lost because some of our white allies are taking the time to educate themselves and pulling up next to us to help, is somewhat comforting.
In an email to Nike staff, Nike CEO John Donahoe explained why the company decided to respond via Instagram and across their social platforms to the racially motivated attacks on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and Breonna Taylor.
White text over a black background, the post reads:
“For once, just don’t do it. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”
In his email, the Donahoe said he felt compelled to address the injustices.
“Team, As we’ve watched racial tragedies expose prejudice and injustice in our cities over these past few weeks, I can’t stop thinking about the individuals impacted: Ahmaud Arbery. Christian Cooper. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. The horrible killings and racist actions serve as a sickening reminder of what too many people live through every day in America,” Donahoe said.
“It is absolutely wrong what’s happening in our communities, to our friends and family members. These tragedies are not unique to the U.S. Far from it – we see violent incidents in countries all over the world, fueled by hatred and ignorance.”
Donahoe made it clear that the company does not tolerate prejudice.
“Let me be as clear as I can: Nike is opposed to bigotry. We are opposed to hatred and inequality in all its forms, indirect and overt. While Nike cannot solve injustice, I believe we have a responsibility to work toward addressing it to the best of our ability.”
“It has also served as a reminder of the racism that is still far too prevalent in our culture. Racial bigotry has created enormous pain and tragedy in the Black community. And since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a disturbing increase in racism toward Asian communities worldwide. The fact that these injustices – and too many others – continue is horrific and unacceptable. I know many teammates in the U.S. and around the world are feeling tired of having to justify their existence and to fight for their dignity and humanity.”
Donahoe encouraged Nike staff not to feel daunted by the events facing the nation.
“I encourage all of us to not be daunted by the enormity of what we face today. The tragedies we face, we face together. We choose to act in a way that is authentic and true to our values. We are compelled by our purpose: Until We All Win. And we will never ever quit until that becomes a reality.”
Nike leading the way in setting the standard we all expect from brands that benefit from the BAME communities. Powerful stan on what corporate brands can do to give us hope in a world that can be so dark for many people like me. Knowing that brands like Adidas can also be big enough to step up and back Nike’s stan on doing that right thing has really made my heart smile today. The first time in a while.
Never been a voice that advocates for just one brand when it comes to sport but I believe for the rest of my lifetime, I will be committed to the work that Nike and Adidas do to support my voice and the voices of my people in this world. Thank you for pulling up Nike and Adidas.