Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma encourages education, voting, activism in fight against racism

first_img“There’s a lot of good cops, too,” Kuzma told Anthony. “There’s all races of people out there in a cop uniform, and it’s more about the system than it is the actual departments. We need police around. Who do you call for anything, you call the police … you’re instilled to kind of lean on it in times of despair.“The biggest thing is just the system, and the system dating back to slavery and how that’s manipulated people’s minds to think that one race should be more than the other.”And when Spears asked Kuzma to identify possible solutions for improving relations with police and ending police brutality, Kuzma offered this: “Make it a little more prestigious to be a cop.”“A lot of people, straight out of high school, they just go to the police academy, and that’s just a way of life,” Kuzma continued. “That’s something I remember in Flint: People either went to the police academy or went to General Motors and worked in the factory. So that’s a prime job, but if its a prime job, you need it to have prime requirements. Like, not only getting into the police academy, we need to have extra requirements to get out of the police academy.”Furthermore, he said, “we need cops that are in these areas of color that can relate to these areas. It’s never made sense to me why someone from Santa Clarita or Orange County is patrolling Compton.”Kuzma also has been stressing education, encouraging those listening to his conversation with Anthony to delve into African history and also to dig deeper into African American history. Kyle Kuzma is making his voice heard.The 24-year-old Lakers forward from Flint, Michigan, has in the past couple of days encouraged education, applauded local and national activism and stressed the value of voting as he’s added his thoughts to the discourse on racism and police abuse in the United States.He shared his perspective in a Players’ Tribune piece, “Ain’t No Sticking to Sports,” posted Tuesday morning, and in a virtual conversation over a glass of wine Monday evening with Carmelo Anthony, the Portland Trail Blazers star.And then, modeling the Black Lives Matter T-shirt available for purchase to raise funds for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Kuzma joined the Undefeated’s Mark J. Spears early Tuesday afternoon for a conversation streamed on Instagram. “That is the most important thing,” Kuzma told Anthony, noting that he previously had misgivings about the validity of voting. “It’s one thing to go out there and march, it’s one thing to go out there and protest, to spread awareness. But if you want real change, it’s not from there, you know? The real change is voting.“But on top of voting, you have to be educated. And it’s both fields: Just because you’re poor or you’re impoverished, don’t believe that you have to automatically vote for Democrats, or vice versa, if you’re super-rich, you don’t have to vote for Republicans.“Actually educate yourself on the policies, educate yourself on what the actual politicians believe in and see if it matches up with what you do. That’s where the ultimate change comes from.”And in the Players’ Tribune piece Kuzma indicated how he’ll be approaching his civic duty: “We have to vote out people that blindly support spending more on police departments than on healthcare and education. And we also have to vote out the people who aren’t making the change that we want fast enough.”Related Articles In Kuzma’s words on the Players’ Tribune:“Racism is about slavery more than anything else, and how those stories of slavery have been passed along to white families for centuries and centuries.“In something called the Cornerstone Speech, the Confederate vice president, who led the people fighting for slavery in the Civil War, literally said their movement was based on the idea that white people were ALWAYS going to be superior to blacks. That from birth, black people were meant to live as slaves.“He said: ‘Our new government foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.’“And when slaves were emancipated in 1865, and when the Civil War was done, it wasn’t just like boom, black people are free, racism is done, you know?“At that time, black freedom was scary to a lot of white people in this country. There were plenty of people who wanted slavery to continue. I’m talking senators and people in power. Lawmakers with that mindset.“So, laws were put into place after slavery to put black people in a kind of ditch that would be tough to get out of.“Look at the 13th amendment. It abolished slavery except as punishment for a crime. Essentially, they were saying, OK, they’re free now, but they can’t be free if they’re criminals. So, let’s make them criminals. Let’s make rules so tough that it’s easy for them to mess up.”Kuzma said he also wants people to educate themselves on the issues facing society now — and then to take that knowledge and apply it at the ballot box. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers With that in mind, Kuzma ended his Players’ Tribune post by announcing that he’s planning to launch a voting campaign because, as he wrote, “You know, back when this all started, during slavery, the one thing that the white man feared was a black man that had a mind of his own. Someone who could READ. Someone who could WRITE. Someone who could THINK for themselves. Someone who could VOTE.“You know why? Because that person could stand up!!“And that’s what I’m doing and going to continue to do until all people are free.”center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersKuzma addressed the historically strained relationship between black people and the police in all three forums, including his written piece, a wide-ranging, 1,900-word essay in which he also touches on what life was like growing up as the son of a white woman and a black man.“My grandmother was actually a lieutenant in the Flint police department,” wrote Kuzma, who earned a sociology degree from at Utah. “I know there are great police officers out there. But even though that is a part of my family, being black in America, no matter who you are, famous or not, you’re still always going to be paranoid of the cops …“Even as an athlete, I’m still scared when I get pulled over,” Kuzma added. “If I’m driving and I see a cop, I’m checking my rearview mirror for like the next five minutes.“That is the epitome of what this has done to us as black people, living in a racist society. That’s what we have to fear: the people who are supposed to protect us.”Kuzma talked more about it on Monday’s episode of Anthony’s “What’s in Your Glass” series. Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img read more


first_imgWhen young Ballyshannon boy Ronan McGee died, his family family decided to donate many of his organs so that others could receive the gift of life.Here, in an emotional tribute to her younger brother, BBC journalist Elaine McGee reveals the sense of peace her family has received from making that decision. “It’s 10 years since my brother Ronan died at the age of 15. “His coat still hangs on the banister at the bottom of the stairs in the house we grew up in, just as he left it.“His posters, pictures and basketball medals are still on the walls of his bedroom. Two guitars and his school bag are there in the corner. Just as he left them.“Ronan died in March 2002 after having a brain aneurysm – a weak spot on a blood vessel which if ruptured, can prove fatal.“He had suffered an aneurysm once before as a young child, but had made a full recovery following treatment, with an optimistic assurance of a very slim chance of it ever happening again. “I was meant to be away at a birthday party the weekend it did happen again.“Instead, a typically broke student, I stayed at home and spent the day with my little brother.“The last time I saw him alive was when I left him sitting on the couch watching television.“Unknown to me, my final words to him were: “Goodnight, I’ll see you tomorrow.”“My mum found him the next morning. He slipped into unconsciousness shortly before the ambulance arrived and would never wake again. “He spent four days on a life-support machine in hospital.“It was very difficult to accept what we were being told as he appeared perfect. Normal breathing, flushed cheeks, he looked like he was sleeping.“But the doctors told my family that Ronan was brain dead and there was no chance he would survive.“My parents, Maureen and Charlie, were asked if they would consider organ donation. “The doctor approached us and mentioned the possibility,” my mum recalled.“And I remembered that Ronan and I had had a conversation during Eastenders which was running a storyline about donation at the time.“I asked him would he give his organs and he said yes, he would.“We made a joke of it then. Little did I know down the line we would have to make the choice but I am glad that we did.”“When you are facing every parent’s worst nightmare in losing a child, surely it must be a difficult decision?“It is hard but Ronan was so full of life, I was happy he could save somebody else,” my mum said.“He was such a generous person, he would have loved to give someone else the gift of life. I never regretted the decision.”“Ronan donated his heart, kidneys and liver. He could not donate his lungs because he was asthmatic. My parents chose not to donate his corneas.“We were going to donate the corneas, but he had lovely big blue eyes, so I just couldn’t do it. I found that one hard to do,” mum said.“The kidneys and liver recipients were in the Republic of Ireland. The heart recipient was in Manchester.“We were told the operations were successful and everyone was doing well afterwards.“Our family has never met them and we probably never will. But organ donation has helped with coming to terms with such a sudden and devastating death.“I haven’t checked on the recipients’ conditions in the last few years,” my mum said.“It’s such a long process and if you found out that person didn’t live either in the end, it would be very hard. For me, to get on with it, I can but hope those people are alive and enjoying their lives.“I still believe because of the organ donation, Ronan, in a way, lives on, and knowing he made such a difference, has helped so much.”“We did receive a letter from one of the people who had received a kidney from Ronan.“He was a man who had been on dialysis for many years. Now, after his transplant, he told us in his letter he was going on holidays with his family and he was so happy he could now do that when he couldn’t before.“My brother will never grow older. He never got to go to his formal, to college, or to fulfil his ambition of becoming an actor.“Every Christmas, every family gathering, and every day, he is the person that is always missing.“But in life, as in death, he always helped others and his organ donation is something my family can always be proud of and take comfort in.”Elaine’s article appeared on BBC News Online as part of a series on organ donation that is running on BBC Northern Ireland all this week. You can read more here: BOY’S DONATION STILL BRINGING LIFE TEN YEARS ON was last modified: November 23rd, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BallyshannondonegaldonorElaine McGeeRonan McGeelast_img read more