Given the recent increase in protests that has taken place in the United States since the murder of George Floyd, many prominent sports men and women have stepped up to use their platform to advance the discussion surrounding racial injustices.
Reggae Girl Yazmeen Jamieson, who lives in Canada, has been one of those closer to home who has taken the step to ensure she plays her part in helping to fight for a change for the black community.
“Football players and athletes can help to fight racism by using our platform,” she stated. “Playing for Jamaica, a predominantly black country, I don’t see why we should feel a way about speaking out against racism.”
Jamieson was born in Toronto, Canada but has pledged her allegiance to Jamaica since 2017, when she represented the U-20 Reggae Girlz.
For her, this issue is more than just a movement; it is extremely personal.
“I’m black before I am an athlete and if people choose to ignore that then they are choosing to ignore my existence.”
“I personally believe that the general society is finally listening to us and we shouldn’t let this fire die. I’ve experienced racism, I’ve seen my friends experience racism, I’ve seen my family experience racism so this is not a topic I’m gonna stop talking about until it’s solved.”
Yazmeen also explained how she has personally been to protests and how impressed she was with the organization of the movement and the fact that she was able to learn more about the discussion surrounding the Black Lives Matter initiative.
“It was more than just marching around yelling black lives matter, they brought motivational speakers and activists to talk to the crowd because there’s no point gathering and talking about black lives matter if we’re not gonna leave and learn something from it and I definitely learned a lot from the conversations.”
Aside from the physical impact the protests have had on her daily life, she also explained how they have taken a mental toll on her, having to witness individuals being tear-gassed by police and protesters being arrested for expressing their rights.
Another Jamaican Senior National team representative, Romario Williams, shared similar sentiments and also expressed how even though he is not in support of any violent activities, he understands the frustration.
“It shouldn’t take protests and riots for us as a black community to be heard. The black community has endured a lot over the years and has been fighting against racial injustices… it’s clear that we have had enough.”
Williams, who has 14 caps for the Reggae Boyz, also highlighted his fear of raising two black boys in America and how worried he is about their future if nothing changes in the country.
It is unfortunate that our athletes have to be voicing concerns over an issue such as this in this day and age, however it is just as satisfying to note that their resilience and boldness has allowed them to respond professionally and responsibly, as black role models and sports personalities become increasingly under the radar.