One week ago, a Minneapolis police department officer placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd which lead to his death. My emotions have ranged from sadness, anger, pain, empathy, frustration, and confusion. Like so many others, it has been a struggle to find perfect thoughts, and the right words to express how I truly feel.
My husband and I have had many discussions with our three sons. Additional conversations have taken place with family members, close friends, and student athletes. My resolve is that we must speak up, stand up and do better.
I understand and support the reasons behind the peaceful protest. But, I do not agree with the destruction of property and /or the endangering of lives.
Since my first view of the horrific video of the arrest, it caused me to reflect on my life journey. It starts with my childhood in Newport News, VA, and continues through the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, with stops in Williamsburg, VA, Albany, New York, Palo Alto, CA, Norfolk Va. and current residence in Greensboro, NC. No matter where my journey has taken me, there are constant reminders that I am a Black American.
Continuously, I witness the racism our country inflicts on our Black sisters and brothers.
As a mother, I speak with my three Black sons ages 24, 19, and 13 to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Young men can take on the feeling of invincibility and walk in the wrong place, be perceived as doing the wrong thing or drive the wrong way and the results could be tragic because of the color of their skin.
As a coach it is my responsibility to empower, educate and unite young women. It is my duty to these student-athletes and our Black community to do my part. Here is my viewpoint:
We must do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
We must speak up and find our voice.
We must be the very best person that we can – do better.
We must change direction.
We must identify and challenge racism and prejudice.
I am encouraged that this generation – Black, white, and brown – will be a part of the solution and change the direction.
— Trina Patterson, UNCG Women’s Basketball Head Coach