Sat. Jul 24th, 2021

By Emily Crane

UNITED Kingdom — Michael Jordan has announced he will donate $100 million to organizations that fight for race equality in the wake of the George Floyd protests that have gripped the United States.

The basketball legend revealed on Friday that he and his Jordan Brand, a shoe-and-apparel division of Nike, would donate the funds over the next 10 years with the goal of ‘ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education’.

‘Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement,’ the former NBA star and current Charlotte Hornets owner said in a statement.

‘Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.’

His statement went on to say that his Jordan Brand represents the black community.

‘The Jordan Brand is us, the black community. Jordan Brand is more than one man. It has always been a family.

‘We represent a proud family that has overcome obstacles, fought against discrimination in communities worldwide and that works every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice,’ he said.

‘The will, the work, the excellence the world has come to know is the result of one generation after another, pouring their dreams into the next.

‘It’s 2020, and our family now includes anyone who aspires to our way of life. Yet as much as things have changed, the worst remains the same.’ 

His pledge comes just days after he joined thousands of Americans in voicing his anger and frustration over the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

‘I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,’ he said of Floyd’s death.

‘I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.’ 

He went on to offer a message of hope at the change the protests could generate down the road.

‘I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others,’ he said.

‘We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.

‘Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.’

Floyd died on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn’t breathe.

Three other Minneapolis police officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Floyd’s death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United States to condemn racism and police abuses.

Hollywood celebrities, musicians and politicians were among those to attend Floyd’s memorial service on Thursday.

Civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy, declaring it was time for black people to demand: ‘Get your knee off our necks!’  

‘George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is because you kept your knee on our neck,’ Sharpton said.

‘What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’ 

Those gathered at the Minneapolis tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds – the amount of time Floyd was held on the ground before he died.  (ia/MailOnline)

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