5 questions to think about: June 10 interview

Ray Gaddis

Member of the Executive Board of MLS Black Players for Change.

Quarterback, FC Cincinnati.

What does the recognition of Juneteenth mean to you?

June 10th is important because it reminds us of what we have been through and what we can achieve. Juneteenth shows how freedom and justice in the US were delayed for blacks, but not denied. June 10 is the historic moment when the prayers of the enslaved people were answered and set free, and now so many people, myself included, have the freedom to be free in America.

How do you discuss racial injustice and the importance of June, if at all, with non-blacks or non-Americans? Do you get asked this when you are outside the US?
The first thing I do is listen with the intent to understand different points of view when I engage in conversations about racial injustice with people who are not like me. Then I lead with shared values ​​related to community, opportunity, fairness and equality. I then use our shared values ​​as a bridge rather than a workaround when talking about racial injustice. I would also consider the audience and goals of the group of people I am talking to.

As publicity grew on June 10, more people asked me questions about this historic event. Due to my career as a professional football player and participation in the world game, I am among people who belong to different faiths, nationalities and life paths that are different from me and my background. So, naturally, questions are asked.

Did you know about Juntin’s growing up? Has it been celebrated in your family or community?
When I was growing up, I knew about Dzhuntinsky simply because I had privileges with teachers who taught alternatively, and not just the Indiana curriculum. When I was growing up, we had to dig deeper than the surface of our textbooks, and now that I’m older, I’m seeing dividends from studying events like June that weren’t covered or covered as eagerly as they are today. It should also be noted that I was fortunate to have two minority teachers in 2nd and 4th grade who introduced me to the history and concepts of other cultures at such a young age. I truly believe that these encounters at such a young age have given me a more comprehensive understanding of how I approach people and see things from a different perspective without hiding my reality, truth and rich history.

How do you feel about the following quote: “We learned that silence does not always mean peace, and norms and ideas about what “fairness” is not always justice.” — Amanda Gorman
Regarding the Amanda Gorman quote, I think it’s important to speak and express a point of view that is a reality in order to find peace, while we as a people must normalize the situation, allowing justice to prevail for those who act fairly.

Do you think sports can play a role in conversations about race/discrimination? Why or why not?
Sports play a vital role in conversations about race and discrimination as sports bring people from different walks of life together. Sports are a common crossover to remove barriers between races. Sports also make you more cultured and educated to see things and learn things from points of view other than your own, allowing you to have more informed and meaningful, needed conversations about race and discrimination.

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