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This Father’s Sigh of Relief

Coaching Corps’ Robert Marcus discusses this week’s guilty verdicts.

Like many fathers over the past year, I’ve been talking to my son about George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent uprisings. And like many fathers, I’ve made the point to explain to him that George Floyd had a family. He had friends. He was a member of his community. George Floyd was a human being. George Floyd deserved to be treated with humanity. He deserved to live. Instead, one afternoon, he was murdered. But he did not die in vain. His murder galvanized a movement of millions of Americans from all backgrounds in the fight for equity, equality, and the dismantling of systems of oppression that have historically, and to this day, deny the humanity of Black Americans.

The verdict against Derek Chauvin can be used as a stepping stone in the movement to eliminate the disproportionate amount of police violence against Black Americans. Coaching Corps stands in support of the decision to convict Derek Chauvin on all charges related to the murder of George Floyd. While Derek Chauvin will be held accountable for his actions, no amount of justice will return George Floyd to his family and friends or dismantle systemic structures that lie at the root of inequity and oppression.

We cannot allow the emotions of this moment to fade into inaction. We must continue the movement for change that was awakened in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s murder, and led to the uprisings we witnessed in 2020. Let us use this time to advocate for systematic changes that equally resource all communities while ensuring tragic crimes like the murders of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Oscar Grant III, and countless others, are no longer repeated.

As I sat in anticipation of the verdict, I agonized over what I would say to my young son if Derek Chauvin was acquitted. I wondered how I would navigate the conversation of another community member’s life being taken without consequence by someone sworn to serve and protect us. Yet again, I thought about my obligation to make sure that my boy understands that racism and police brutality are very real, and that those two things could quickly escalate to a tragic loss of life. I wondered how to have this real conversation while reassuring him that his humanity and dignity are not simply social justice issues as depicted on TV, but a basic human right owed to us all when we come into this world. A right we demand without qualification and we will never stop fighting for.

I know that our coaches around the country were also wondering what they would say to our young people at afternoon practices yesterday if Derek Chauvin was acquitted. I agonized over how they would navigate the conversation with their players of another community member’s life being taken without consequence by someone who swore to serve and protect. Luckily, at least for this one afternoon, the conversation for me and our coaches, could be one of hope and action.

Here, at Coaching Corps, we promise to use our voice, platform, and resources to fight for equity and equality for kids of color. We promise to fight for meaningful and enduring change and to ensure that the youth sports and mentoring space is a place where all kids, regardless of where they live, can reap the benefits of caring coaches.

 

Robert Marcus

Coaching Corps

Director of Government and Community Engagement

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