From the time that I was a kid in high school, I saw racial discrimination. Before we would go over to someone’s house, my black friends would have to ask each other and ask me and their other white friends if the parents of the person having the party were racist. This was not because they didn’t want to go to the house out of anger, but rather out of fear. Many of my black friends who felt this fear were some of the biggest, toughest and best athletes you could find. And also, some of the nicest and most loyal friends you could find. Yet, they had to think about this every single day of their lives everywhere they went.
That was nearly 30 years ago. Surely, I thought, when we’re older things will be different. Yet, here we are and things haven’t changed.
20 years later, we elected a black man to be President of the United States. I started to think that maybe I was right and that things were different now that we were older. Yet, here we are and things haven’t changed.
Many of our sports “heroes” are black. People all over the country tweeted and commented for five weeks in a row about Michael Jordan and “The Last Dance.” Yet, here we are and things haven’t changed.
So, what now? How do we truly bring about change? Because the passage of time, electing a black President, and cheering for black athletes sure haven’t changed society in the way that it needs to be changed.
My law firm’s motto is “Fighting for Justice.” And that’s what we do every day. And that’s what we need to do right now. We all need to fight. We don’t need to fight each other. We need to fight to change hearts. And we need to fight every day. We cannot stay silent.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Never have those words been more true than now.
I stand with my black friends. I stand with the black athletes that I have coached. And my law firm stands with our black clients, employees, friends, colleagues, and people everywhere now and always. You should too.