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Serena Williams speaks out over police violence: “I won’t be silent”

serena williams.jpg

Tennis star Serena Williams has spoken out against police violence with an emotive Facebook post shared thousands of times, writing: “It's not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.”

Vowing, “I won’t be silent”, Williams describes how seeing a police car while on a drive with her teen nephew prompted her to speak up, worrying for his safety as a black man in America.

Referencing the death of Philando Castile in Minnesota, who was shot and killed in his car by police during a traffic stop, the athlete says: “I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds.

“I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He's so innocent. So were all ‘the others’.”

protest charlotte

There have been protests in Charlotte, North Carolina

She continues: “Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives?”

Read more: “It’s a human rights issue that should outrage everyone, regardless of race”

In the post, which has at time of writing been liked more than 100,000 times and can be read in full below, she explains why she decided to speak publicly:

“I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters?

“As Dr. Martin Luther King said ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal’. I Won't Be Silent.”

The post comes shortly after the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, sparked protests and demonstrations in the city – another in a string of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police in America.

Earlier this week, upset community members in Charlotte used a council meeting as an opportunity to call for change with protests and speeches, and the impassioned words of one young attendee quickly went viral.

Read more: Watch Serena Williams' inspiring Sportsperson of the Year acceptance

Nine-year-old Zianna Oliphant gave an emotional speech on how she felt as a black Charlotte resident, breaking down in tears at one point as the audience cheered her on with calls of “You’re doing a great job!”

Revealing “I’ve never felt this way until now”, Zianna said: “I feel like that we are treated differently than other people. I don’t like how we’re treated. Just because of our colour doesn’t mean anything to me […]

“We are black people, and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to and have rights.”

Watch the video here.

Images: Rex Features



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