(Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
Today marks the 27th birthday of Trayvon Martin. In 2012, the 17-years-old was walking from a convenience store to his father’s fiancé’s house when George Zimmerman, a member of the local community watch, shot and killed him.
Martin shared the dream of many children across the country to play in the Super Bowl. Had he lived, he might have fulfilled his dream last night. While many up and coming athletes aspire to play in the NFL, the dream, for most, is farfetched. However, it is impossible to achieve when the very system created to keep you safe, ends your life. That being said, living as a black teen seems just as farfetched as becoming a professional football player.
According to a HuffPost analysis of data compiled by the Washington Post and the Guardian, the police have killed at least 223 black Americans since Kaepernick’s first protest. Meanwhile, 6.5 of high school football players play collegiately. Furthermore, of that 6.5 only 1.5 play in the NFL.
The NFL season has come to a close, but the work of one of its former players is far from over. In the summer of 2016, Colin Kaepernick protested against racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem.
Kaepernick pledged to donate $1 million of his salary and all earnings from his jersey sales to community organizations to spread awareness of these ongoing issues. Since making this pledge, he has not only raised the million dollars, he has also donated to over 30 organizations across the country.
Kaepernick overcame the statistics and played the game at the highest level; however, has since risked his career and reputation to give other African American children, at minimum, a chance. All that he has risked can’t guarantee that a chance would become an opportunity. In the case of Trayvon Martin, he was a child, like many others, that shared the dream of pursuing a sports career.
What if fate had offered him different options: a helmet instead of a hoodie, a football instead of skittles, an evening practice instead of nighttime walk. What if…what if the chance had been an opportunity? Trayvon could have been wearing a jersey on 2/4/18.
As football fans riot, I am reminded that, in response to the unjust deaths of young Black men like Trayvon Martin (who would have been 23 today), rioting is considered an affront to humanity. Not endorsing violence. Endorsing honest examination of WHY & eradication of racism. pic.twitter.com/Q1SYyKkXGr
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) February 5, 2018