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A grand sunny day dawned in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Bayvew District for the naming of “Sam Jordan Way,” formerly Galvez Avenue between Phelps and Third Street. Over 150 people gathered for the celebration on Aug. 18. It is fitting that his two sons, Allen and Sam Jr., and baby girl Ruth with other family members were on hand. They pointed out that their father was the first African American to make a serious run for mayor and now we have a Black woman, Mayor London Breed.
The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live.
The marches in the streets are not done. The die-ins disrupting traffic are not done. Any kind of closure for the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and so many others is far from done. Athletic protest actions have the effect of amplifying the impact of a new struggle for human dignity in the face of racism. It has found expression in all 50 states and in solidarity actions in cities around the world, all with the message that Black lives matter.
As a descendant of former slaves and as an immigrant from the South, I have a unique perspective on segregation. My parents migrated to Oakland from Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. In Jackson there were signs which posted the segregation policies. In California there were segregation policies, but no signs.
The Scotlan Center, located in historical Defremery Park, aka Bobby Hutton Park, has not received their $175, 000 contract to continue drastically needed services in West Oakland. "They are withholding funds from youth, yet they sit quietly as kids get gunned down in the streets," said Linda Handy.
Oakland has been always full of talent. If you didn’t know, it was the home of the Black Panther Party, Andre Ward, Too Short, Bill Russell, Huey P. Newton, Toni Tony Tone, 2Pac, Ricky Henderson, Bruce Lee, Leonard Peltier and more. Now a new, up and coming duo known as the Newlyweds, are ready to show the world what they have to offer.
Let’s stop perpetuating the idea that athletes have forfeited their right to say whatever they damn well please. To Chris Douglas-Roberts and Rashard Mendenhall: Yes, athletes DO have a right to have perspectives, and I hope we can continue to hear what’s on your mind.