(CBSNewYork)- The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in recent months have led to the ongoing protests calling for social justice and, as part of that call, has seen athletes using their voices more than ever before. On Sunday, New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith took to Twitter to discuss his thoughts on the current unrest.
With the caption “silence kills” and followed by hashtags of many names of African American people, men and women, who have died at the hands of police or due to racism, Smith put up two pictures of himself with a long statement discussing his personal experience and calling for change. He says that he didn’t really understand what his parents had been teaching him until he was drafted into the Major Leagues in 2013 and began traveling across the country. It was at that point, outside of the environment he grew up in going to predominantly black schools, that he began to see the oppression that people across the country are protesting against.
•#GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor #TonyMcDade #TrayvonMartin #MichaelLorenzoDean #BothamJean #AlteriaWoods #AltonSterling #TerrillThomas #KevinHicks #EmmettTill #EricGarner #MichaelBrown #DanteParker #TamirRice #TonyRobinson #EricHarris #JosephMann … pic.twitter.com/0QPkSc8J0Z
— DOMINIC SMITH (@TheRealSmith2_) June 14, 2020
“I saw how oppressed we were firsthand. Whether it’s education, job opportunities, healthcare, mass incarceration, social programs, financial hardship, and more,” said Smith. “I saw how I wasn’t equal and treated unfairly just because of my skin color. Without people even trying to get to know me, they already had a perception in their head of who I was.”
Smith goes on to say that the current protests, social media posts and donations to various organizations will “all play a part in bringing about real change.” He then ends by saying that he is committed to being part of that movement before saying that he believes in the country being able to bring about real change.
The statement reads:
“I spend most of my hours thinking about what’s going on in the world. When I got drafted in 2013 and left Los Angeles, I finally understood what my parents have been teaching me my whole life. Traveling the world playing the game I love for my career was by far the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but it’s also shown me how some people in this world really are.
As a black man in America, you encounter racism on every level. Your parents prep you for it. They prep you for routine police stops. They prep you on how to talk to people with respect. When you have one strike against you (your skin color) you have to make the people you come across like you, and you do it with respect, with a smile, with love.
I didn’t understand it as a kid. I went to predominantly black schools my whole life, so when I got into the real world, it hit me. I saw how oppressed we were firsthand. Whether it’s education, job opportunities, healthcare, mass incarceration, social programs, financial hardship, and more. I saw how I wasn’t equal and treated unfairly just because of my skin color. Without people even trying to get to know me, they already had a perception in their head of who I was.
And I’m not saying all people have prejudice or are racist because they’re not. I’m just speaking on personal experiences I’ve had. The system has been killing African Americans and minorities for hundreds of years and enough is enough! I don’t want to fear being stopped by a police officer or looked down because of my skin color! It shouldn’t have taken the death of so many innocent men and women for the world to take notice. And if we didn’t have social media or smart phones, how many more innocent lives would we have lost? SILENCE KILLS.
My heart goes out to all the families who have lost loved ones in these tragic situations. It’s not acceptable, it’s not okay, it’s not ethical. Our people have been fighting decades and we’re still here today reaching another chapter of Black Lives Matter. The social media posts, protests, petitions, donations will all play a part in bringing about real change. And I’m committed to doing everything I can to be a part of that. But don’t let a photo or video be the only thing that triggers action. Racism is something that happens every day and it’s going to take every day forward to create a world of equal opportunity. I believe in US! BE THE CHANGE.”