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Simone Manuel, Sloane Stephens & Other Team USA Athletes Speak Out On Racial Injustice As Protests Continue

By Josh Clayton and Sheridan Powell | June 19, 2020, 2:55 p.m. (ET)

Simone Manuel poses at Tokyo 2020 shoot.

 

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and several others have sparked a strong movement for social justice as protestors fill the streets in all 50 states. Many Team USA athletes have taken to social media to share their experiences with racial injustice, condemn police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The issue right now ... is Black Lives aren’t treated or valued as ALL lives,” USA softball player Kelsey Stewart tweeted. “Let’s educate ourselves on as much as possible so we can educate the next generation so not a single black person has to go through this again.”

See what fellow athletes like Coco Gauff, Alysia Montano and Hunter Woodhall had to say below.

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Starr Andrews, Figure Skating

 

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I am a black woman. I am one of the very few black women to represent a country on the international figure skating circuit. I have been skating basically my whole life, and it has come with a handful of challenges. I am beyond blessed to be able to represent my community in a sport that is predominantly white. I use to cry about being the only black girl to represent USA wondering why there weren’t more people like me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how special and fortunate I am to have made it so far in such a political sport. Every time a little black girl comes up to me, it makes me emotional because I used to be that little girl. I always tell them you can do anything you set your mind to. I’m not only skating for myself, but for every other little girl, boy, or any African American out there who thinks they can’t do it. For the next few years I will be preparing myself for the next Winter Olympics. There aren’t enough words to thank everyone who has been with me through thick and thin. #blacklivesmatter #blm ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

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Crystal Dunn, Soccer

 

 

Coco Gauff, Tennis

 

 

Lauren Gibbs, Bobsled

 

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I have been doing a lot of thinking and having a lot of conversations, and still I find myself unable to fully express how I feel about the terrible, violent and ugly things that have been a part of American culture for years; and now that they have again come to a boiling point, in a very loud (for lack of a better word) way, that makes it impossible for people to ignore, there is an extra level of UGGGGG (again for lack of a better word) because We still have yet to get a handle on this F'ing pandemic. Like COME ON 2020, when are you going to stop sucking?! 〰️ The only way I know how to move forward is to find things to be thankful for, look for ways to take action myself and communicate in a way that facilitates positive change for others. 〰️ So, in keeping with my thankful Thursday tradition, if you are still reading this and actually took the time to watch my video, I ask that you comment below three things, people, experiences or whatever, that you are thankful for. 🙏🏾 〰️ @teamusa @usabs @onherturf @olympics @nbcolympics @ibsfsliding

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Darrell Hill, Track and Field

 

 

Jamal Hill, Para Swimming

 

 

Chris Kinney, Bobsled

 

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⁣⁣ Guys, I’m tired. I’m at a loss on how I can help, I’m tired of seeing how little our system values our lives and it breaks my heart to see our country fragmenting as so many generations of pain have finally reached the tipping point and imploded. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ It hurts seeing African American men extrajudicially killed because we are seen inherently as a threat. I am mixed with three races and may not always feel like I belong within any community as my experiences over the years have often been discounted because of my mixed upbringing, and the way I speak. I’ve lived a somewhat privileged life, Ive seen the world, I graduated from Georgetown, I got my MBA, I've gotten to represent my country as an Olympian, but none of that shields me from from the dangers simply walking around in the beautiful brown skin I was blessed with presents. ⁣⁣ It’s dehumanizing at 14 years old to be pushed up against a police car and searched by an officer, because walking around my neighborhood in my skin is inherently suspicious in our society, or to be suspected of breaking into a neighbors house because I’m the only black kid on the block.⁣⁣ ⁣ I go as far as to make my presence known when walking around women in secluded areas as I try to pretend I don’t see them because I’m nervous how I’ll be perceived by them. ⁣⁣ It is both sobering and infuriating to see someone beg for his life only to be killed by a law enforcement officer while his colleagues stand by, or to see the modern day hunting of an African American man as though he were an animal and it really makes me question what my value in society is actually worth. ⁣There are underlying systemic problems within our society that need to be addressed. ⁣ ⁣⁣ We are all coping with this change in various ways and I applaud the many brave men and women protesting, making their voices heard, and fighting for a change. These voices have echoed around the world from the U.S. to Tokyo to Ireland... ⁣⁣ This has given me a glimmer of hope that we CAN be the change we want to see. We DO have value and we DO matter. The road ahead will not be the smoothest but I’m confident we will get to a better place.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ @usabs @teamusa ⁣⁣

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Simone Manuel, Swimming

 

 

Alysia Montano, Track and Field

 

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Let’s keep rising. TOGETHER. • DO NOT wait until there are embers on your roof before you decide to put out a fire. • We need to keep going, keep educating, keep learning, keep having tough conversations, we need to encourage and correct in love. We need to continue to unify and fight for one another. Let’s GO, let’s GROW. • Tell me what’s something new you learned in the last couple of weeks? Share below add resources for shared knowledge 🖤🤎. • Suggested reading: 🖤: So you want to talk about race by @ijeomaoluo 🖤: White Fragility; why it’s so hard for White people to talk about racism. By Robin DiAngelo 🖤: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander 🖤: Stamped; racism, anti-racism and you by Jason Reynolds 🎥: @crockervideo • • • • #unity #love #blacklivesmatter #thenewjimcrow #stamped #antiracism #fitmom #mentalhealth #health

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Aubree Munro Watson, Softball

 

 

Nicky Nieves, Sitting Volleyball

 

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I’m emotionally exhausted, sad, scared, and have had enough. It’s scary. It’s scary to see people who just like you, get treated, treat US, in such a way. It’s scary to feel like I don’t matter. I try and find the right words to say, but I can’t find them. All I know is, I will be the change I want to see. I will speak up against injustice. I will fight for equality. I will fight not only for myself, but for the generations that are coming up after me. For the future. I will continue to fight to be seen. I compete and fight for the greatest country in the world on and off the court. I am a Black woman, and I matter. —————————————— To my teammates, and sports psychologist who have shown support, I love you. It’s a scary spot to be in right now, but never shutter to fight for equality, to fight for what’s right. ——————————————#BlackBloggersClub #BlackGirlMagic #AfroLatina #OrlandoBlogger #4CHair #Blogger #TeamUSA

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Claressa Shields, Boxing

 

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Black By Popular Demand My black is beautiful, my black is proud, my black is prideful, my black is loud. I am black my popular demand Nothing wrong with being black, nothing wrong with being white, so why is it ok for the cops to kill blacks on sight. My black is holy, my black is light, my black is not afraid to stand up & fight. Hear us loud and hear us clear, no longer will my blacks live in fear! My black is mine to own, I claim it with my throne. My black will not just sit at home and watch as you kill our own. Put the phone down and help me, don’t just watch as they kill me. My black is alive, my black is human, my black has a heart and feelings. When you are the color black sometimes this beautiful world looks like hell. For 400 years many sad stories to tell. My black has survived and I’m proud to be black even though, this world doesn’t understand our souls. I am black by popular demand nothing I can do to change that. RIP George Floyd and the rest of our brothers and sisters taken from this world too soon because of their skin color -Claressa Shields

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Zack Steffan, Soccer

 

 

Sloane Stephens, Tennis

 

 

Kelsey Stewart, Softball

 

 

Hunter Woodhall, Para Track and Field

 

 

Related Athletes

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Crystal Dunn

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Lauren Gibbs

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Darrell Hill

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Jamal Hill

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Chris Kinney

Bobsled
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Simone Manuel

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Alysia Montano

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Aubree Munro

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Nicky Nieves

Sitting Volleyball
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Claressa Shields

Boxing
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Sloane Stephens

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Kelsey Stewart

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Hunter Woodhall