Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald wants people to listen. Fitzgerald wrote an essay in the New York Times on Sunday that focused on Minneapolis, and addressed systemic racism in the United States.
Fitzgerald, who grew up in Minneapolis, reflected on George Floyd’s death. Fitzgerald said it was “yet another example of a systemic problem we have yet to solve. A cancer we are failing to cut out.”
The 36-year-old Fitzgerald then quoted a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in which King says, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Fitzgerald uses that quote to tell people they aren’t listening to each other.
“People of color across this nation are screaming to be heard.
“Stop killing our sons and daughters. Stop terrorizing our communities. Give us justice. When those screams fall on deaf ears the pain of being unheard bears down on your soul.”
Fitzgerald stressed that leaders and elected officials must take action. Staying silent, or not speaking out, would make them complicit in the status quo.
“Imagine the desperation of the family of George Floyd and countless other people of color who have suffered injustice in communities across America. Can you hear them? Will their pain and their voices continue to go unheard? Leaders, elected officials, influencers and people in power must listen. We must refuse to allow the screams of the unheard to be disregarded. We must act. Good people may find themselves a part of a broken system but must take it upon themselves to bring about the needed change. If you are silent and passive you are complicit in upholding the status quo.”
Despite his concerns, Fitzgerald said he was hopeful things will improve. He said everyone must be heard, including law enforcement. He added that people should not judge all law enforcement based on “the unthinkable acts of some.”
Fitzgerald ended his essay stressing that people need to work together and listen to each other in order to “heal this divide and rebuild our communities.” He mentioned Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in his final sentences, ending each one with the phrase “we hear you.”
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