Michael Jordan “Can No Longer Stay Silent,” Writes Letter On Violence Between Black Community And Police

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Michael Jordan has long been criticized for his failure to use his voice to speak out on social matters. Just this past Friday the New York Times published an opinion piece on the announcement that Charlotte would no longer be the host of the 2017 NBA All-Star game, saying the opportunity represented, “For Michael Jordan, a Chance to Speak Up (For Once).”

Well the Hornet’s owner did just that today when he published an open letter on the growing violence between police officers and the African American community on The Undefeated and announced a generous donation toward mending relations between the two parties.

His letter reads:

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

A spokesperson for Jordan told The Undefeated that the former pro has had a long-standing commitment to diversity, “But he’s always been very private and personal about many of these things.” Two weeks ago he made the decision to speak publicly on this particular matter but delayed the announcement after learning the 2017 All-Star Game would be relocated because of North Carolina’s highly controversial bathroom bill, so as not to away focus on the LGBT community. Today’s declaration is still right on time, given the shooting of Charles Kinsey last week, right on the heels of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille’s murders. And NBA commissioner Adam Silver praised Jordan’s move in a comment to The Undefeated, saying:

“I applaud Michael Jordan for these donations. His championing of important social issues including fundamental civil and human rights carries enormous impact in communities everywhere.”

Let’s hope these organizations will use this money to truly establish an environment of mutual respect that has never existed between police and people of color in our nation’s history. What do you think?

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